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Orange::44 Is An Absolute Magician 11.0

The latest incarnation of the TNIAAM/Orange44 chronicles is here. I asked Brian over at Orange44 the hard hitting questions. He gave me...hard hitting answers??? His thoughts on the spring game, SU lacrosse, Donte Greene and more are below...

A lot has been reported on the scrimmage, or whatever you want to call it, but no one seems to have taken the pulse of the crowd itself. What kind of feel did you get from the people on hand Saturday?

BRIAN: Well, I personally sat in section 214, which is the left corner on the second level from the Syracuse bench. Those seats are the location of my friend's season tickets and the usual place I watch games from. No one was really close to us as most people were in the 100 level in the middle on both sides.

However, I did see a lot of people in the crowd and the feeling I got was that people simply were there to socialize and if they got a look at the team or happened to have an entertaining moment of what was being done on the field than so be it. Otherwise, people did not seem to be too interested in it simply because I think they could tell the team seemed to not be that into it. The crowd always feeds off the energy of players on the field. In this case the players seemed to just go through the motions and I think that generally prevented the crowd from getting too into the "game". The only time the crowd was into what was on the field was when regular folks were trying to catch punts. Yes, it was hilarious. Other than a couple of big hits on the field, the entire affair was just not that exciting.

TNIAAM: If you had to guess at one unheralded player on the football team who is going to make a big impact in 2008, who would it be?

BRIAN: I will say Ryan Durand #75, the right offensive guard for the team. After a year that can only be described as disastrous from an offensive line prospective, the leaner and meaner line is looking to improve on their explosiveness and quickness, as well as not getting beat so much. While they still looked ragged in the Spring Game, after another summer in the weight room, as well as doing drills, this should improve. It has to right? I mean the team cannot let nearly that ridiculous number of sacks during the upcoming season can they? Either way, if the offensive line finds success it will clearly be in part because of Durand.

TNIAAM: What are the chances we could see double national titles in lacrosse?

BRIAN: There is certainly a fairly good chance that this is possible. The ladies are currently ranked #3 in the Media Poll and #5 in the Coaches Poll, while the men are ranked #1 in the Coaches Poll and #2 in the Media Poll (but only behind #1 Duke by a point). With two top five teams it is always a possibility that both teams will make some magic come NCAA Tournament time.

I think it much more likely that the gentlemen will win and the ladies will not. Of course, I think it all depends on the bracket the ladies get. But just looking at the season they have had, it looks unlikely that they can overcome the top two teams in Division I. Earlier this year, Syracuse lost to Northwestern 7 to 19 in the Carrier Dome. Similarly, Syracuse lost to #2 Virginia 8 to 13 early in the season. Unless they put up some unstoppable defense and score an awful lot of goals, I just can't see Syracuse getting past either of these squads in the tournament.

The gentlemen on the other hand are ranked at the top and will most likely have a #2 seed in the tournament. That should provide at least a slightly easier road to the Final Four, and they most likely would not face Duke or Virginia until the Final Four, making the road look much more likely.

However, at this point, with the way both teams are playing, I give both teams winning a 50% chance of happening. Obviously it would be pretty cool of both Syracuse teams won, and the #1 ranked Le Moyne men of Division II win again. Syracuse would really again be the City of Champions.

TNIAAM: Who's had a more impressive season, Katie Rowan or Mike Leveille?

BRIAN: This is a tough question. Honestly, men's lacrosse and women's lacrosse are so different it would be hard to compare, but I'll give it a shot.

Rowan is having the best year anyone has had in the history of the program. She finishes the regular season with 110 points. No one has ever finished above 100. Her team finished the year 14-2 and has won the Big East Lacrosse regular season title. In that regard, this is all very impressive.

Leveille has 55 points on the year, his team is 11-1, they are top ranked, and have solidified a very good seed for postseason play. They had a dreadful year the season before, but are back on top of the lacrosse world looking to earn another trip to the Final Four. Also very impressive.

However, just based on the benchmarks set, I have to give it to Katie Rowan. She is probably more valuable to hear team, and with that many points, she is probably the front runner for the lacrosse world's highest honor, The Tewaaraton Trophy. I gotta give props to the ladies, even though Leveille is having a stellar season.

TNIAAM: Since Donte's announcement to go pro, several prominent underclassmen have declared for the draft. Is Donte regretting the move or was this to be expected as far as his draft spot goes?

BRIAN: You have to think, if Donte is wise in the least, that he would have expected all these players declaring for the draft. The wisest thing that Greene did was not hire an agent. He can still take it back if he feels that he has dropped out of a lottery spot. has Greene listed as going to Toronto as the 17th overall pick. I think that is pretty much right where he will fall, most likely between the 15th and 22nd pick.

I think he is still in his expected realm of where he expected to go and I think it is still highly unlikely he comes back to Syracuse. Also, I really do not want him to come back at this point.

TNIAAM: If you were in charge of Saturday's festivities, how would you have done it differently?

BRIAN: Actually have a game for starters. It is called the "Spring Game", meaning that it is a game that happens in spring. The key word is game. The game of football cannot be played always worrying about injury. You either play it full out or you do not. This of course does not apply to players coming off of injury like Carter and Brinkley, but for everyone else, if you are healthy you should go all out in practice. You have conditioning coaches to take care of minor injuries and prevent others. Having an actual game with the starting offense trying to score on the starting defense with them trying to prevent that is good, and it would at least give the crowd something to see.

Also, I would get rid of Gomez & Dave and perhaps have actual Syracuse alumni that are well known come back and maybe do some play by play. You know, maybe have Bob Costas and Donovan McNabb cover it for the crowd. That is a bit of an unreachable dream team, but you get the idea.

Having far less time for drills would be nice as well. Still have them, and open the Dome at 1:00pm if people want to watch them, but have the actual game start at 2:00pm. I came for a game, to see what the team can do. I did not come to see the "thud drill" or any seven on seven crap.

The players trying would also be great, but maybe that is asking too much when the coaches do not even take the "Spring Game" serious.