The Syracuse Orange play a football game this weekend. Just wanted to make sure everyone remembered...
One person who didn't forget that Syracuse is participating in actual athletic events is Doug Marrone. And that's a good thing, because the Toledo Rockets have already proven they can dance with the big boys.
"What I've told the staff and what I've told the players is that our focus right now is on this season, so I've told them not to comment on it. I'm probably not going to comment on it at all. We have a much larger task with our program to concentrate on the teams that we have coming in and the upcoming season. I know that everyone here has a job to do, and I respect that. All I ask is that you respect that we have a job to do, because I would like to make sure that I'm the coach when we bring this team forward for the future of the ACC, and that means winning football games."
The big question will be, which Toledo shows up in the Dome on Saturday? Will it be the Toledo that scared the pants off of Ohio State two weeks ago or the Toledo that got their butts handed to them last week by Boise State?
Doug Marrone does not find himself in a position to assume the latter.
"Coming up, we're playing a team in Toledo that was picked by many to win the MAC. They are a very senior-oriented team on both sides of the football and on special teams, and that's always very dangerous. Toledo has beaten a BCS team every year for the past five years, and we're their last BCS team on their schedule...I've coached players in the NFL from Toledo. I have a lot of respect for them and I have a lot of respect for their coaches. We're going to have to play extremely well, and we're excited about the challenge that they bring coming in here."
A quick search proves Doug ain't lying. Toledo has beaten Kansas ('06), Iowa State ('07), Michigan ('08), Colorado ('09) and Purdue ('10). Their streak either continues or dies with us.
Marrone mentioned that while Eric Page is clearly the biggest weapon the Rockets have, there's plenty of other talent on the roster to make the Orange take notice.
On the SU side, injuries are the big question mark. #SHAMARKO Thomas was taken to the locker room with an injury in the third quarter against USC and never returned. Doug says "He may be back, he may not." Gah.
No word on Chandler Jones and whether or not he's returning. Chandler didn't even come up. I'm getting concerned about him and his lower body.
Marrone closed his presser with a discussion about the much-maligned defensive secondary. Marrone wants to make it clear we're working on it, but, you know, cut them a little slack, too.
"We're getting nicked up, so we're looking at what we can do about that. Either we can cover them and force some coverage issues and sacks. Or we can go after this quarterback, and maybe that will help us in the back end. We haven't been very good in our zone coverage, they've been hitting some spots. But when you look at the three quarterbacks who we've played – the kid from Wake Forest is a heck of a quarterback, the kid from Rhode Island, who's a transfer from Hofstra, and we just played against the number two quarterback prospect in the country.
"We have faced some very good quarterbacks, and we think that the two kids coming in are good quarterbacks. We just have to do a better job of repping them because we don't want to get too limited because then everyone knows what exactly we're doing and then we're in trouble. It's a tough balance that we're working through, but it's our responsibility to put the players in a better position, and that's what we're working on."
I'm mostly just hoping this guy makes it out to the game on Saturday. I'm looking forward to a repeat performance.