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Where are things going wrong for Syracuse’s offensive line?

It’s Dino Babers’s biggest question as the team has its backs to the wall with just seven games to play.

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Clemson v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

When asking questions around why the Syracuse Orange football team has struggled so much in 2019, it’s easy to point to a beleaguered offensive line. The group’s given up the most sacks in the country this year (35 is three more than the next-worst team) and the run game is virtually non-existent, too.

Dino Babers has noted that he’ll be looking at where things can be switched up, and detailed how he may be putting that group under a microscope this week (and beyond). Here at TNIAAM, Steve rewatched Friday night’s Pitt loss specifically for where the O-line has concerns, and came across the following:

  • Dakota Davis and Ryan Alexander struggle when asked to pull
  • Alexander is struggling to hold blocks on at least half of his snaps
  • Carlos Vettorello’s actually holding up reasonably well, but has some holding issues
  • Airon Servais is still probably a better fit for tackle
  • Evan Adams is the team’s most consistent O-lineman (to little surprise)

Players getting straight-up beat off the snap isn’t a great sign, and if we’re seeing that on film, then opposing teams are as well. The last two weeks have shown opponents rushing four most of the time, and heavily covering receivers as a result. This and pressure hurts Tommy DeVito’s ability to go through his progressions, and how we end up with so many broken plays.

Speaking of DeVito, there’s not a whole lot he can do about the state of the line. He gets happy feet now and again, but much of the time, the pressure’s in there so quick, he’s forced to make a split decision. Granted, he could potentially stand in the pocket a bit longer at times. But the rewatch shows what he’s dealing with a bit better, and... it’s not exactly workable for most quarterbacks.

Dino says he’ll break up the continuity to get the best guys out there, and hoepfully that’s the case this weekend vs. Florida State. Struggles from Dakota Davis and Alexander should at least mean extended opportunities for Darius Tisdale, Patrick Davis and/or Mike Clark. Former four-star Qadir White’s also sitting on the bench. Certainly fans (us included) are curious about what he may be able to provide this team.

That, plus the rest of your Syracuse-related links below:

Dino Babers is putting the offensive line under the microscope. Are changes coming? (

Babers doesn’t feel he and the staff have many misses on the recruiting trail. “We have a bunch of young guys who are playing a bunch of older guys, and they need to continue to develop,” Babers said. ”The same people you’re talking about now in a year or two may be one of the best O-lines in the ACC because of how much they’ve played together.

In retiring John Wallace’s No. 44, Syracuse again shows how much it has forgotten (

This is not to suggest that Wallace shouldn’t be honored. He absolutely deserves to have his No. 44 jersey raised to the Carrier Dome’s rafters. He is one of the greatest players in school history. The problem is that every time Syracuse retires another jersey without honoring Hackett and Lee, it does a disservice to two of its most legendary players as well as the 1975 team that they led to the Final Four.

How a fortuitous flight has Oshae Brissett on the verge of making his hometown Raptors (The Athletic)

The Raptors had been tracking Brissett dating back to the 2017 BioSteel All-Canadian Game, if not further, and weren’t turned off by his two somewhat underwhelming seasons at Syracuse. The Syracuse system can be difficult to extrapolate individual performance from thanks in part to its zone-heavy defence, and Brissett was one of 11 players to earn an invite to the NBA Draft Combine after a strong performance at the G League Elite Camp.

Jeff Goodman’s 2020 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Big-Name Freshmen Top the Class (Stadium)

28. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia) – Quincy Guerrier, 6-7, 220, SF, Fr., Syracuse, DOB: May 13, 1999: The Montreal native can really score. He’s got an NBA-ready body for a wing, and he’s able to create his own shot and get buckets from the perimeter.

2019 ACC Football Legends Class Announced (the ACC)

Joe Morris, RB, Syracuse (1978-81) – Holds or shares 16 school records, including rushing yards in a single game (252 in 1979 versus Kansas), single-season rushing yards (1,372 in 1979) and career rushing yards (4,299) • Also the program’s all-time leader in rushing yards per game (113.1), 100-yard games (22) and all-purpose yardage (5,581) • Posted three 1,000-yard rushing seasons •

Ranking every college basketball team from No. 1 to 353 for 2019-20 and an interesting fact on every team (CBSSports)

11 college basketball teams we’re not talking about enough (

Syracuse Football players to fans during frustrating skid: “Stick with us” (CNYCentral)

Florida State looking to return pass rush to early-season form against Syracuse (Tallahassee Democrat)

Chandler Jones is being overlooked for the umpteenth time (SB Nation)

Florida AD Scott Stricklin takes to social media for schedule help (ESPN)