It felt like just yesterday that we were speculating what a 2018 Week 1 Syracuse Orange depth chart would look like. Now we’re here! Dino Babers and his staff have released who they plan to start versus the Western Michigan Broncos.
Senior QB Eric Dungey will start against Western Michigan. Other depth chart notes:— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) August 27, 2018
-Starting WR: Devin Butler, Jamal Custis, Sean Riley
-Cody Conway LT, Koda Martin RT
-SU seemingly going 4-3 against WMU with Armstrong/Guthrie/Whitner starting at LB pic.twitter.com/ELoTtO1zGN
Eric Dungey looks to have won the “quarterback competition,” getting the start. Personally, I’m psyched to see Sean Riley get one of the three starting receiver positions. If Riley has improved his route running, he’s another legitimate game breaker to pair with Dungey on WMU’s watch at all times list.
But let’s get to the weird part: after all this talk of the 4-2-5/nickel, Andrew Armstrong, Ryan Guthrie and Kielan Whitner are all listed, suggesting a return to the base 4-3 scheme run last year. Bronocs QB Jon Wassink is solid, but maybe this is Babers and staff preparing for a more run-based attack? Regardless, it’s definitely an interesting strategic decision early on as the nickel was support to provide support to a less than stellar secondary.
And that secondary is young; Two of the four backups are redshirt freshmen (CB Ifeatu Melifonwu & SS Eric Coley) with the other two being true freshmen (FS Andre Cisco & CB Trill Williams). Ideally, all four of these players will get snaps later in this game and show some flashes of their upside. Antwan Cordy also shifts back to free safety.
Also of note, Chris Elmore returns to the offensive side of the ball, slotted in at tight end behind Ravian Pierce.
What do you think? Are we going to see the 4-2-5 nickel set on passing downs only, or is this a fake-out by Babers? Let us know in the comments!