One of the biggest issues for the Syracuse Orange defense since Dino Babers took over has been the lack of turnovers.
After causing 23 in 2015, Scott Shafer’s final year, Syracuse had 19 in 2016 and just 12 last year. They already have six this year — and that effort’s been led by the secondary, which has collected all of them via interception (the special teams punt blocks don’t count as fumbles).
The Daily Orange spoke to SU’s defensive backs this week to determine what’s caused the shift. There are no props like chains or backpacks for the Orange. Instead, Chris Fredrick explains, the focus came from defensive coordinator Brian Ward’s “turnover tape” from this spring. The film showed all of the missed chances for SU to force turnovers and it’s motivated the emphasis on them this year.
Given the pace Syracuse’s offense plays at, a turnover can create an even bigger momentum swing and really help tire out the defense. The Orange secondary is aware of that impact. And so far, it’s worked wonders in 2018.
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Both Cisco takeaways granted the Orange possession inside the Wagner 30-yard line. SU’s interceptions have landed SU inside its opposition’s 35-yard line five of six times, leading to 17 points off turnovers. “Someone says ‘Oh that guy doesn’t have to catch, he’s a DB,’” Babers said after the Wagner game. “Well if there’s a DB that knows how to catch it can be a huge weapon.”
Many players at the time wanted Edsall to get the job. Some were disappointed or surprised when he didn’t. His longevity and personality, they felt, offset the fact he would have been 33 years old, the same age Lincoln Riley was when he took over for Bob Stoops at Oklahoma last year. To put that in perspective, there is one FBS coach younger than 34 this season, former Syracuse co-offensive coordinator Sean Lewis (32) at Kent State.
Huskies’ defense will be under the gun again at Syracuse (Journal Inquirer)
“It’s not going to be a statistical year for us. I get that. It is what it is,” Crocker said Wednesday. “We have to focus on getting these guys better week-by-week because there are some games I believe we can win on the schedule, without a doubt.” Immediately after the Huskies’ 56-49 win over Rhode Island last week, television cameras caught Crocker collapsing on the Pratt & Whitney Stadium turf in some combination of exhaustion and celebration.
Dunn’s nit-picking aside, the UConn offense has offered plenty of positive signs over the first three weeks of the season. Pindell ranks fifth in the American Athletic Conference in passing yards and third in rushing yards, and running back Kevin Mensah broke out for 144 yards on the ground against Rhode Island. Nine different Huskies have caught passes this season, while six have scored touchdowns.
Eight Breakout Candidates for the 2018-19 NBA Season (The Ringer)
Jerami Grant, Oklahoma City: In this switch-happy era of NBA basketball, teams can minimize the potential for mismatches by deploying as many players as possible who can match up equally well against any player—big or small, strong or fast. When a mismatch occurs on the floor, it can force the defense to rotate or help, and when that happens, open shots are soon to follow.
I guess Eric Dungey’s eye is fine? (Twitter)