Offense is the word of the day coming out of Syracuse Orange football spring practice. Both Syracuse.com and The Daily Orange dig into the offensive mindset of the Orange in 2014 and how it might differ from what we saw in 2013.
Pace. That seems to be the word that pops off the page first. OC George McDonald has his sea legs under him now after a tumultuous rookie year at the helm. In Year 2, the McDonald Offensive is going to be faster. At least, that's the plan.
McDonald is working to ensure SU’s offense reaches an even faster pace. Syracuse averaged 73.7 plays a game last year — fourth in the Atlantic Coast Conference. This year he hopes that number jumps to 84, and also said he’d love to get a play off every 18 seconds. He wants balance, simplicity and speed, with quarterback Terrel Hunt as the anchor.
"I love it," Hunt said. "I just listen to what (McDonald) says. He tells us to go fast, we go fast."
"The best way to do that is to continue to cut, cut, cut, cut," McDonald said, "until you really get the nuts and bolts where they can go out and execute with their eyes closed and be really efficient."
By the way, the fastest offensive in the nation, Texas Tech's, ran an average of 87 plays per game last season. Nate Hackett's finely-tuned machine with Ryan Nassib behind center ran 80 plays per game. 84 sounds like a tall task but I like the optimism.
Meanwhile, there's also a lot of talk about an element of the Orange offense that went largely unnoticed last season (at least until the Boston College game), the tight ends. Nick Provo ain't walking through that door but the tandem of Josh Parris, Kendall Moore and Tyler Provo should provide SU with a lot of options and versatility.
Parris is the most well-rounded in the unit, and new tight ends coach Bobby Acosta said he is "going to be a tremendous football player."
"The guys have bought into becoming an expert at their position and trusting the coaches' detail," McDonald said. "It has been exciting. Every day you see something better. Our job is to keep pushing them to perfection and not let them get comfortable."
The point seems to be that SU will have plenty of weapons on offense this season. Whether or not Terrel Hunt will have the time to get them all involved in a high-pace offense, well, that's the big question.
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