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Syracuse football: Cordy, Dowels injuries put spotlight on beleaguered secondary

Things were negative. Now they could be more so.

Louisville v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Early in the Syracuse Orange’s 62-28 defeat at the hands of the Louisville Cardinals, cornerback Juwan Dowels exited with an injury. Much later, safety Antwan Cordy (arguably the defense’s best player) left with his own malady.

When Syracuse coach Dino Babers was asked about both post-game, he had no update, but that doesn’t mean the concern about the injuries — whether short-term or not — aren’t on his mind. And the minds of every Orange fan.

Even with both players in the lineup early, SU was giving up yardage at a stunning clip to Louisville. The team wrapped up the big loss with 844 yards allowed, a school and conference record.

When we spoke about the team’s defensive backs in the offseason, there were real concerns about depth, experience and an ability to adjust to a new scheme. Now, those fears have been exposed as clear as day. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is no elite passer, yet he easily completed 20 passes for 411 yards — and it could’ve been a whole lot more.

This secondary was in trouble before the season. Now, with clear signs there will be no discernible pass rush and some glaring depth issues... they could be attacked aggressively by every opponent for the rest of the season.

For what it’s worth, Babers certainly understands what’s at stake right now. He already expressed some doubts about the secondary’s depth and health in the post-game:

"We're taking a lot of hits in the secondary so hopefully we'll have somebody else step up, or we'll have to move somebody else over there who's not at that position right now."

If Cordy and Dowels are both out for an extended period, they’ll cede playing time to Chauncey Scissum and Cordell Hudson, respectively. With lingering injury issues affecting the likes of cornerback Wayne Morgan and safety Devon Clarke, among others... the team can ill afford to lose anyone for an extended period. Back in spring, linebackers Ted Taylor and Jonathan Thomas were playing some nickel back. If the team needs to make some changes, perhaps one or both could end up switching to safety.

We await word on both starters Cordy and Dowels, and hope for the best. Healthy or not, the Louisville loss has certainly exposed some even greater secondary concerns than we may have had before, however.