With Max Suter and Cody Catalina out for the rest of the season, the list of Syracuse players no longer eligible to play grows that much more. But there is one silver lining in this news. A door has opened. Through that door walks the one person capable of single-handidly returning Syracuse football to glory.
Marrone said true freshman Shamarko Thomas would start at strong safety against Louisville. He said the Orange will look at a number of players and packages to replace the things Catalina could do in the backfield or on the line such as "cutting people off, leading on blocks and where our matchups are and what we can do. We're still looking into that." Marrone mentioned tailbacks Averin Collier and Mike Jones, and tight ends Carl Cutler and Dalton Phillips as persons of interest.
Marrone said the lack of personnel is taking it's toll on practice reps and he's got a standpoint on that:
"If you have a team in excess of 100 or 90 players," Marrone said, "I'm going to throw out some numbers of people that I've spoken to prior to the job -- 70 percent of the people may get 100 and something reps per practice compared to, let's say, an NFL team that may get 46 to 48 not including a walk-through compared to where we are right now, getting, during practice, probably in the 50s to low 60s. That's where we are from the standpoint of reps.
One area they might want to focus on...turnovers. Once again any opportunities the Orange has this past weekend were thwarted by turnovers. It's at the point where it's starting to make Greg Robinson's efforts last year look feasible.
Syracuse has committed 23 total turnovers for the season and is ranked 111th nationally. A year ago, Syracuse had 17 total turnovers. This year's club has three games to go.
Paulus has two more interceptions, though one of which was hardly all his fault. That brings his season total to 13, three short of the SU single-season record (Dave Warner, 1980). Not a good thing when you're closing in on obscure Syracuse QB's no one has ever heard and the season isn't over yet. Though to his credit, Paulus is also working on a much better Syracuse record as well:
At the same time, Paulus has completed 144 of 221 passes, a completion percentage of 65.2. If he maintains that rate, Paulus would set a Syracuse record for completion percentage. Bill Scharr completed 66.3 percent of his passes in 1989. Donovan McNabb has the next two slots. He completed 62.5 percent in 1998 and 61.8 percent in 1995. Paulus ranks sixth on the Big East Conference single-season record list in completion percentage..
So he's got that going for him.