This is part two of our "expert" roundtable this week. Click here if you missed part one last Thursday.
Jeremy Ryan: The shifting college football landscape has made transfers more frequent and popular in recent years, and Syracuse is probably an attractive destination for a player who is unhappy in his current situation and looking to land at a school with name recognition and visibility. Throw in the fact that SU hasn't been very good lately, and transfers may think they can drop in and compete for playing time sooner rather than later.
Matt McClusky: It's hard not to get excited about these additions. Players want to come to Syracuse? Former fairly big time recruits are leaving BCS schools to play in the Dome?
But, especially in the case of Funderburk, I see these two cases as something of a compliment to Marrone and his staff. They're working hard in the recruiting game, and even though they have lost out on some real big time recruits, they are leaving an impression on people.
I don't see SU becoming a something of a turn style for JUCO players, but I do think Marrone and company are getting closer to landing some big fish. And I think both Raymon and Funderburk will play significant roles at Syracuse.
Andy Pregler: From talking to players about their recruitment, Marrone's NFL experienced staff is a huge reason players want to come to Cuse. The facilities need upgrading before the Orange become a major player but young men across the country are recognizing Marrone is building something special. The transfer market (no pun intended) is not always something a team can do well in consistently, but it is indicative that the Syracuse name is getting out there.
Chris Daughtrey: As of right now, I don't think there's any choice but to classify them as isolated incidents. Don't get me wrong, it's great that transferring players are looking to Syracuse. But until more guys outside of the California JUCO system start coming, I think it's best to save the excitment.
Dan Lyons: Marrone's been very good at playing the college football 'waiver wire', so to speak, since he's been there. Between taking Aaron Weaver and Jose Cruz from Hofstra, or taking Jay Bromley as a freshman when he was virtually unrecruited, Marrone has been great at recruiting talent in unconventional ways, and a lot of those guys have turned out to be solid players for us. I think the Raymon and Funderburk transfers are just two more examples of this.
Sean Keeley: In general, if you look at the JUCO transfers, the FBS transfers and the recruiting influx from places like Texas and Georgia, our recruiting efforts just continue to grow and expand. It's a good sign.
John Cassillo: While I do believe we've done a great job attracting available talent at various points during Marrone's tenure, I love these two gets since they are legitimate, high-quality transfers. Players brought into SEC and Big Ten programs that are now suiting up for Syracuse. Yes, it might sound starry-eyed, but if they succeed with us, it could be the tip of the iceberg toward others either transferring to the program or coming to us straight out of high school.
You're most intriguing position battle heading into camp?
JR: I'm most intrigued by the one job that isn't up for grabs. Nassib is the man, and has been so for a couple of years. Will he step up and play like a veteran senior should? I think he can and will.
MM: I'm going to cop out here and say I'm interested in every position battle. Due to injuries, transfers, and other general assortment of problems, SU's depth chart is like watching flight times at LaGuardia airport, it's always changing.
I don't think Marrone knows who's going to start at key positions, including on both lines and at other key positions on both sides of the ball. Really, August is the time for unbridled enthusiasms. Where fans of 4 win teams from the year prior convince themselves this is the year where things turn around. I'm not so sure SU fans are thinking that way. I know I'm not.
But oddly enough, all the unknown about this Orange team, which is normally a very bad thing, is kind of a spark for hope. In the next three weeks players, freshmen or transfers, may step up and become 'the man.' While I think SU is probably looking at a long year, we may find a few great players unexpectedly winning starting roles and becoming stars. (Seriously though, I'm really Mr. Pessimistic.)
AP: I say backup quarterback. This season is a wash and it's all about building for the future. Therefore, will Charlie Loeb finally live up to all of his hype? What about Tarrell Hunt and his off the field issues? Will the Broylding continue? I am personally rooting for Broyld to develop into a true quarterback so that we all get excited for 2013.
CD: I'm going with the SLB battle between Dan Vaughan and Marcus Spruill. Vaughan is the cagey veteran, but Spruill is eerily reminiscent of one Keith Bulluck, right down to the forearm protectors. I don't think HCDM can go wrong in either case, but I think Spruill's overall athleticism and raw talent will win him the job in the end.
DL: Good question. I think that most of my intrigue is in how the rotations at a number of positions works out. We know what Alec Lemon and a motivated Marcus Sales can do, but what do we get out of Jarrod West/Ashton Broyld/Jeremiah Kobena/Keenan Hale/Adrian Flemming? A lot of these guys have shown a lot of ability in practice, but questioningly, have struggled to see the field on a consistent basis. On the defensive side, I'm really interested in how the defensive line shakes out. We have more size and athleticism there then we have since I've been following the team, but the fact that half of those guys are just joining the team this year may be a cause for concern. Last year, especially when Chandler Jones was out, the line did a poor job of keeping guys off of our undersized linebackers and got little pressure on the quarterback. I'm cautiously optimistic in thinking that the new infusion of talent will help that, but we'll have to wait to see.
SK: Who is going to be our No. 3 wide receiver. Not only is it a fight to be the No. 3 receiver this year but the inside track of next year's No. 1 WR.
JC: Obviously there's a lot of shuffling still to occur throughout the defensive depth chart, especially, but I'm intrigued by the cornerback positions most of all. Ri'Shard Anderson and Keon Lyn are back, and no one really knows how Lyn will perform coming off his injury. Beyond those two, there's also a ton of question marks on who gets listed as the third corner. Is it Brandon Reddish? Or one of the freshmen?
Biggest trouble spot for the team? There are definitely a few areas to be concerned about, but which do we care about the most?
JR: If Pugh's injury is long term it severely depletes the offensive line and could easily turn a positive into a negative. He could be the best individual talent on the roster.
MM: I'll go with the defensive line (although I think you could throw a dart and pick just about any unit on the team). The last two years the DLine has lost a TON of talent. So, who is going to step up and apply pressure, help out the back seven and remind fans of the Scott Shafer defense from a couple of years ago. With no pressure or run stoppers, the SU secondary could be in for a long season.
AP: Last season, the secondary was my least favorite part of the team. There were so many games they just seemed overmatched. If #SHAMARKO, Ri'Shard Anderson, and Keon Lyn have to had huge improvements in their man to man coverage because running zone all the time only works with Jimmy B.
CD: It's gotta be the O-Line. They were suspect a lot of last season and are breaking in two new starters on the right side this year. Plus Pugh is out for who knows how long on Nassib's blind side. They've got a lot of work to do this preseason to get themselved in order, or else the backs are going to find themselves in the dirt often.
DL: Every year it feels like the offensive line is ready to make that leap into being serviceable, or dare I say, a strength of the team, and every year it tends to under perform. I had high hopes this season, but then we found out that Pugh was going to miss time. I think that Sean Hickey and Kristofer Curtis are both very solid young players, but replacing Pugh will be a tall task. Until the line finally gels, that is going to be my biggest concern.
Also, the special teams need to be less atrocious.
SK: Defensive secondary, of course. I like that we have experience but that experience hasn't done all that much.
JC: Secondary, unfortunately. Like I said earlier, there are a lot of question marks at corner, and the same goes for the safety spots too. During the five-game losing streak, those guys got roasted and unfortunately, most of them are back. If there's been one consistent trouble area for us of late, I'd say it's here.
Over/Under on how many days until Marrone stops updating his Facebook account?
JR: I think he's in it for the long haul. Social media is a valuable part of recruiting and promotion these days. *Someone* will update that page regularly, even if he gets too busy.
MM: Can I cheat here and say zero? While I'm pleasantly surprised Marrone has seemingly decided to acknowledge the fan base via social media, I think this is more of a concerted effort by SU to "market" their head coach. Two years ago Marrone could pretty much do what he wanted, but after last season, and with the building pressure of jumping to the ACC, Marrone probably needs to appeal to the fans now more than ever.
Still, this reeks of someone in the athletics department forcing some undergrad to update Marrone's Facebook and Twitter pages. Imagine being the guy who has to interrupt Marrone in his office and say, "Coach, you've got to do another video for Facebook. This time we need you to talk about the importance of practice." Yikes.
I do see this playing out for the entire year and then, come winter, all of the pages going dormant for a long time.
AP: 12 days and a random post the week before the season starts out and another on day 44. Twitter should already have a tombstone.
CD: Now that practice is officially starting up? I give HCDM no more that 7 days. I think he's able to keep up for awhile but once that first weekends hits, he'll let it slide.
DL: I think everyone's favorite anonymous intern is doing a bang-up job thus far, so as long as he keeps the bologna sandwiches fresh and the Gatorade flowing, hopefully he'll stay on Marrone's good side and we'll keep getting those wonderful 14-second video clips.
SK: The day the football season is over, that account goes dead
JC: Given how active ACC coaches are on social media (David Cutcliffe and Dabo Swinney, in particular), I actually think the account sticks around. It may not be updated as frequently once the season's over, but recruits do want a sense of your personality before paying your school a visit. The best way to display it is through social media channels (even if you're not the one posting).