CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 30: D J Woods #3 of the Cincinnati Bearcats is tackled by Phillip Thomas #1 of the Syracuse Orange during the Big East Conference game at Nippert Stadium on October 30 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
With all this talk of being more physical and giving more effort, perhaps the Syracuse Orange defense needed some kind of kick in the pants heading into their game against the Cincinnati Bearcats this Saturday.
How bout the loss of three players from the depth chart? That oughta do it.
You already knew Phil Thomas was out and probably done at SU, though everything about exactly why and what's going on remains shrouded in mystery. We thought we received word that Thomas was headed to the NFL Draft on Saturday but it turned out to be the work of an imposter while the real Phil Thomas took to Twitter to deny the claims and wonder why SU couldn't look beneath his steely exterior to see the gentle soul inside.
One day we'll know what happened. Marrone certainly isn't going to tell us. The only thing he had to say on the matter is that Thomas is a good football player but his replacements will shoulder the load:
"It happens whether it’s through injuries or other things, and it always gives someone an opportunity to step up and play. That’s what you look for, that happens all the time.
"Somebody, whether it’s Phillip Thomas or anyone else on this football team, (senior defensive end) Chandler Jones when he went down. No matter what player there’s someone behind him who is looking for that opportunity, who has been working extremely hard for it. When those opportunities present themselves, no matter how they present themselves, you have to be ready to play."
Meanwhile, two other Orange will not take the field again this season. The culprits? The "lower body injury" and the "upper body injury."
True freshman nose guard Eric Crume had surgery Monday for a lower-body injury, and second-year freshman Micah Robinson had a procedure to correct an upper-body injury, according to a release from the Syracuse University football office.
Neither saw massive amounts of playing time (Crume had six tackles in six games, Robinson made two tackles in six games) but their absence seriously deplete the depth at their respective positions. Both were making pushes for more playing time and will hopefully be back and ready to do the same next season.
Everyone else on the Syracuse defense, please wear a lot of padding this week.