Syracuse vs. Pittsburgh: Bye Bye, Bye Week

Mark Konezny-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

With the bye week behind us, it's time to look forward to Friday's tilt with Pittsburgh. Before we get there, let's run through some personnel issues, including an impending decision to redshirt a lot of freshmen.

We'll get a recap of that thrilling Syracuse - Bye Week game up shortly but in the meantime, here are some worthwhile nuggets and tidbits about the Syracuse Orange football team.

So apparently Dreaded Lower Body Injuries actually can be deciphered from time to time. The D.O.'s Michael Cohen (who's pretty much killing it these days) tracked down one of SU freshman Ron Thompson's high school coaches to find out the reason he's missing this season is because of surgery to repair a blood-flow problem in his hip.

“There wasn’t enough blood flow getting into a certain socket, the one where your hip and pelvis meet,” Burden said.

Said Burden: “It’s tearing him up not being able to play.”

Wither George Morris III? Many SU fans have been wondering where the frosh has been considering the Orange ground game could use all the help it can get. Turns out you shouldn't expect to see him on the field at all as he's probably going to redshirt according to Dave Rahme. Rahme spoke with Tyrone Wheatley and 'Rone came clean on his big-man-in-training:

“George Morris (6-foot, 195 pounds) is what I call a skinny big man. He’s a very thin kid, but he is 195 pounds. You look at him and you don’t think he’s 195, more like 175. A year in the weight room with (strength) Coach (Will) Hicks and I’m excited just for spring football.

“And once he gets it all . . . and part of the maturation process is we’ve got him on the scout team to toughen him up a little bit where he’s getting a little crap kicked out of him once in a while. That’s the seasoning right there. He’s marinating.”

Keep basting him, Tyrone.

It's been a long, strange road for Brandon Sharpe. The senior came to SU as a linebacker and quickly shifted to defensive end and has bulked up from 227 to 260 since arriving. All his hard work is finally paying off in the stat column:

“I love being a starter this year,” Sharpe said. “I’ve just embraced the job and I just try to take over.”

“This summer, I worked on my run-stopping, and I hit the weights hard. I also worked on my other pass-rushing moves,” said Sharpe, who has 1.5 sacks and 10 tackles (four solo) in four games thus far.

And what of Devante McFarlane, the defensive back turned RB who was rumored to be high on Marrone's chart. Well, expect him to redshirt as well.

“They are going to be two good young running backs,” Wheatley said of McFarlane and Morris. “George Morris is what I call a skinny big man. Devante (6-foot, 19 pounds) is just raw power. I kind of equate him to that wild mustang that’s running around the plains. I’ve got to tame him. But once you put that saddle on him he will run. This kid can run. He’s another skinny big guy who is very powerful. I think those two will be a heck of a one-two punch.”

So there's a lot of news here about young guys redshirting. While it's disappointing that we won't get to see many of the freshman and young players we've been hearing about, it does bode well for Syracuse football, which was had something of a personnel depth issue in recent years. Among the many things that Doug Marrone is doing right beyond the box score is that he's rebuilding the depth of the roster with talent:

“Before, we had to play them,” Marrone said midway through the team’s lone bye week of the season. “This year’s freshman class has a lot of talent. Looking at some of them today and where we are (1-3), we probably could have gotten some help from a few of them. We decided it was best for the overall state of the program if they redshirted.”

According to Rahme, the plan is to redshirt 14 members of the freshman class, or, everyone except Ashton Broyld, Ryan Norton, Wayne Morgan and Julian Whigham. In years past, the numbers might have been switched.

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