During this week’s Syracuse Orange offensive line preview, we noted that the team struggled last year due to injuries but those injuries could lead to an experienced group on the field this coming season. Unfortunately, that idea took a major hit on Saturday.
Syracuse announced that redshirt junior Aaron Roberts will miss the 2017 season following a left knee injury during summer conditioning. The guard started 12 games at left guard last season, leading the Orange in both snaps played (968) and knockdown blocks (39). Roberts was the second-most experienced returning offensive lineman, behind Jamar McGloster.
Obviously this is a bit of a disaster for SU at a position that they could not afford to take on any major injuries. Without Roberts, Syracuse loses a major share of its returning starts -- which could mean more of what we saw last season from this line (a struggle to protect the quarterback and run the ball).
The recent preseason depth chart listed freshman Patrick Davis as Roberts’s back-up on the left side, though you’d have to think Colin Byrne (who started at center for much of last year) would move over there to grab the starting gig early on.
This sucks, and seems like another case of SU being a bit snakebitten when it comes to injuries lately. The team lost both Steven Clark and Josh Allen to medical disqualification this offseason, at another position group (defensive line) the team could ill afford to miss anyone.
We hope for a speedy recovery for Roberts, and cross our fingers that Syracuse can get through this early blow to the season’s potential upside.