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Syracuse Football: Scott Shafer Says Orange Offense Needs to Improve on 1st & 10

Taking a look at Coach Shafer's claim about improving on first & 10.

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse offense needs to get better on first & 10. According to Scott Shafer, that's what he wants to improve upon most after last week's win over Central Michigan last week -- at least based on what he said during the ACC Coaches Teleconference.

I don't want to doubt Coach Shafer. But considering that I break down the Orange's plays each week, I was curious to see how pressing that improvement really needed to be. Here's every first & 10 play Syracuse faced on Saturday:

Down Ball Run/Pass Player Direction Result
1st and 10 SYR 35 Run Hunt Dive R 20 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 45 Run Gulley Off-Tackle R 2 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 29 Play-Action Pass Flemming Screen R 3 Yard Loss
1st and 10 SYR 31 Play-Action Pass Custis Screen L 1 Yard Gain
1st and 10 SYR 44 Run Gulley Dive R 1 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 43 Run Ameen-Moore Dive L 6 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 33 Run Ameen-Moore Off-Tackle R 7 Yard Gain
1st and 10 SYR 31 Pass McFarlane Screen R 9 Yard Gain
1st and 10 SYR 43 Play-Action Pass Moore Mid-Range M 12 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 45 Pass Flemming Mid-Range M 15 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 30 Run Morris End L 8 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 20 Play-Action Pass Custis Screen R 3 Yard Gain
1st and 10 SYR 5 Run Gulley Off-Tackle R 3 Yard Loss
1st and 10 SYR 25 Pass Gulley Screen L 3 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 41 Pass Hunt Screen L Incomplete
1st and 10 SYR 28 Pass Estime Deep L 20 Yard Gain
1st and 10 SYR 48 Run McFarlane End L 0 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 40 Pass Hunt Deep R Incomplete
1st and 10 SYR 26 Run Phillips End L 1 Yard Gain
1st and 10 SYR 36 Run Phillips Counter L 12 Yard Gain
1st and 10 SYR 48 Run Phillips Counter L 4 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 40 Run Phillips Off-Tackle R 3 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 22 Run Phillips Off-Tackle L 12 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 19 Pass Estime Mid-Range L Incomplete
1st and 10 SYR 27 Play-Action Pass McFarlane Screen L 7 Yard Gain
1st and 10 SYR 38 Play-Action Pass Hunt Short M Incomplete
1st and 10 CMU 47 Run Morris Dive L 4 Yard Gain
1st and 10 CMU 35 Run Phillips Dive R 2 Yard Loss
1st and 10 SYR 14 Run Ameen-Moore Off-Tackle L 23 Yard Gain
1st and 10 SYR 37 Play-Action Pass Custis Screen L 2 Yard Gain

By the numbers:

  • Total plays: 30
  • Run/Pass: 17/13
  • Average yards per play: 5.7
  • Plays that gained first down yardage: 7
  • Plays that gained zero yards or less: 7
  • Plays that gained five yards or more: 12
  • Incomplete passes: 2

***

You can always improve, obviously, but is that the most pressing matter to fix for Syracuse after the Central Michigan game? That 5.7 yards per play average ain't too shabby. And seven first down plays also gained first down yardage. On the negative side, I guess those seven plays that gained zero or negative yards are also a bit disconcerting. If there's anything to fix, it's to knock that number down a little bit - even if it doesn't boost the "plays that gained first down yardage" figure in kind. I'll be adding this to the weekly stat tracking to see if SU makes progress at all.

But what do you think? Is this an acceptable record of first down success, or does Syracuse have a lot of work to do in that department? Do these number gloss over something Coach Shafer's keying in on?

Obviously Maryland can score points, so efficiency is going to be big for the Orange. I'd imagine cutting down on the need for third down conversions (as seemed to be the case last week) is a very good place to start.