Syracuse vs. Rhode Island: Orange Offensive Linemen Lead The Way

Against Wake Forest, the Syracuse offense of the first three quarters and the Syracuse offense of the fourth quarter were completely different animals. If you were to break them down by halves, here are the stats:

1st half: 52 yards, two first downs, 7 points.

2nd half: 257 yards, 12 first downs and 29 points (including OT)

While Ryan Nassib, Antwon Bailey, Van Chew and Nick Provo got most of the kudos, it's important not to forget the adjustments the offensive line made in order to give all of those players time to make their names.

Macky MacPherson had a really tough first half. But once he and the line turned it around, they really changed the complexion of the game:

"Once we got rolling with it we really started rolling," MacPherson said. "That was a good football team we drove on as an offensive line. We just want to take that and bring it over to the next game and throughout the season.

"But the thing is we have to get firing on all cylinders from snap one. It took us a while, and we can’t have that happen."

One play in particular that really showcased the way the offensive line learned was on Antwon Bailey's 53-yard touchdown run. Justin Pugh has a funny story about it, actually.

"It’s a funny story," he said, "because earlier in the game we ran the exact same play, the toss play where I pull. And I went to cut the guy, because normally the cornerbacks are tough to block. And he was like, ‘You’re a big guy. I’ll never let you cut me.’ He kind of gave me a clue that he was going to backpedal the next time we did it."

"So the next time we ran the play I pulled out knowing he was going to backpedal," Pugh said, "so I just knew I had him. Once I got my hands on him it was kind of over for him."

Of course, Doug Marrone doesn't want to see a half of good offensive line play. He wants an entire game.

"They were inconsistent," he said. "I think that you can easily take some plays out there and show where they did play consistently, whether it be the in the pass protection or run game. There are clips during that game where you say, 'This is who we like to be. This is who we want to be. This is what we need to do consistently.’

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CitrusTV's Josh Wetmore sat down with new Syracuse Football Offensive Cordinatore Nathaniel Hackett before the season started to talk about his new coaching roles, his relationship with quarterback Ryan Nassib, and how the Syracuse offense will operate in the 2011 season.

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