Saturday, Syracuse scrimmaged for the last time before it scrimmages for real, which is a misnomer since a scrimmage isn't actually real. What I'm try to say it is, there was a scrimmage this past Saturday. And the defense dominated it:
While the green-jerseyed offense did manage a pair of touchdowns – both on passes from quarterback Ryan Nassib to senior receiver Marcus Sales – the unit in red picked off a pair of Nassib passes and recovered two of at least four fumbles.
The defense also got at least five "touch" sacks on the quarterbacks, had several near interceptions and a number of tackles for a loss. The hitting was crisp. The offense compounded its struggles by committing a half-dozen penalties, including a holding call that wiped out a 20-yard pass from Nassib to Alec Lemon.
It's tough being the head coach sometimes. You can get excited about how well the defense performed as a unit, but you then have to be frustrated about the offense for stinking up the join so badly:
"I’m disappointed in the offense," head coach Doug Marrone said. "For the 12th practice of spring we should be better than that."
"That’s how spring is," he said. "You never walk off the field feeling good about both sides of the ball. I’m not about gray. There’s always a winner and there’s always a loser. Today the defense … it was probably their best day, and the offense, it was probably their worst day."
There were a bunch of players not on the field Saturday as the spring injury bug continues to work its magic:
Allport "got dinged" in practice on Thursday, according to head coach Doug Marrone. He should be back on the field soon.
Others on the sideline were senior safety Olando Fisher, who injured his right ankle on Thursday but is not expected to miss a lot of time; sophomore tailback Jerome Smith, who is still being watched after a head injury suffered in last week’s scrimmage; sophomore walk-on safety Zach McCarrell, out with a head injury; and sophomore walk-on safety Chris McKenzie, who tore his left ACL on Thursday and is out for the year.
Full stats on the scrimmage are available here.
The good news for the upcoming Spring Game and those attending is that there will be no thud drills and no controlled set of plays. The Orange will split up into separate teams and play one another.
Teams have already been selected, he said, and they’ll play four, 12-minute quarters with a clock and regular officials. Marrone said he didn’t want to reveal the makeup of the teams.
"I’m excited. I think it’s the first time in like 20 years that we’re going to have this format," he said. "We’re a little thin. If we get some injuries in the game, some players might have to go both ways."