Redshirt junior guard Rob Trudo isn't happy about where the Orange is at right now. And can you blame him? Before the season started, many predicted the Orange to win as many as eight games this season. More conservative predictions thought 7-5 or 6-6 was more realistic. Now, after nine games, the Orange is 3-6 and has to win out to become bowl eligible. Trudo expressed his disappointment to Syracuse.com's Stephen Bailey on Tuesday:
"I definitely thought we would've been bowl eligible by now given our schedule," redshirt junior guard Rob Trudo said on Tuesday. "We had a lot of really good things going on preseason and I know I'm always optimistic, overoptimistic sometimes, but you've got to shoot for the moon. You've got to shoot for the moon to land among the stars."
Syracuse didn't play well against a beatable Maryland team and a struggling offense let down a defense that forced five turnovers in a loss to No. 8 Notre Dame. The Orange defense played well against No. 21 Clemson, but the offense again let SU down. Losses to Notre Dame, Florida State and Clemson were all expected, but the ones at home to Maryland and NC State were not.
The Orange's bowl expectations took a hit when quarterback Terrel Hunt broke his leg and injuries to receivers Ashton Broyld and Brisly Estime have made things harder for Hunt's current replacement, AJ Long.
One thing the Orange does have going for it is Jarrod West -- you may have heard he and Long are cousins. With injuries to Broyld and Estime, West has stepped up and played extremely well. West caught seven passes for 161 yards on Saturday against NC State. West's best season was in 2012 when he caught 43 passes for 588 yards and two touchdowns, but the senior receiver has already set a new career-high in receiving yards with 610 and with 40 receptions already, will likely beat his previous high with just four more catches.
Jesse Dougherty of the Daily Orange wrote about West on Tuesday and the high praise from Long:
"Jarrod’s one of the best receivers in the country. That was on display today,"freshman quarterback AJ Long said after the game. "He made plays that he hasn’t shown in the past. He’s given the opportunity and he’s just doing what he’s capable of."
From Cuse.com, offensive coordinator Tim Lester and defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough previewed this week's game with Duke.
And from Brent Axe of Syracuse.com, Scott Shafer says the team's "next man up" mentality is being challenged:
"That's fair to say," said head coach Scott Shafer when asked if the "next man up" philosophy is being challenged by the volume of injuries Syracuse has suffered. "Just not being around quite this many at the same time makes it difficult."
While the injuries to some of the skill positions may hurt Long's ability to throw the ball down the field, the injuries to the offensive line has hurt almost everyone -- including the defense -- offensive line coach Joe Adam told Axe:
"Yesterday (at practice) we had a block of (first-team players) going and a block of (second-team players)," Syracuse offensive line coach Joe Adam said Wednesday.
"I turn around and say (second-team) guys in, and there is three guys standing behind me," Adam said. "We have a scout offense as well. If I pull from there, the defense can't run a practice. We've had to be creative with reps and try not to overuse the guys, but still get good work in."