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Penalties among biggest issues for Syracuse football so far in 2019

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There are other problems too. But unforced errors like these do add up.

NCAA Football: Clemson at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Through three games, the Syracuse Orange are one of the 30 most penalized teams in the country in terms of yards per game lost, and in the top 20 in terms of average penalties called against them per game. It’s not the only reason they’re 1-2 so far, but it’s a start to the conversation — and that was something on full display in a mistake-filled loss to Clemson that helped make a closer game for three quarters not look nearly as much so.

SU opponents, on the other hand are not penalized nearly as much thus far (5.7 penalties per game, 51.7 penalty yards per). For some reason, the Orange have always seemed to have an issue with invoking flags, though last year’s group was at least “sort of” better in that regard (7.2 penalties per game, but 59.1 penalties yards per). The year-over-year difference, combined with the uptick in turnovers and lack of offensive success relative to last season is how you get to this point.

This week, cornerback Trill Williams acknowledged it to the AP, but also didn’t have a specific fix (nor should he, necessarily) beyond just “getting more disciplined.” As mentioned, that’s long been an issue for Syracuse, and it’s seemingly become one yet again here. Four of the team’s remaining opponents are among the 50 least-penalized in the country. Just one (FSU) is among the 30 most-penalized.

It’s not the end-all be-all, given how the full list looks — teams like Oklahoma, Michigan State and Alabama are doing reasonably well despite also being in the top 30. But for a team like Syracuse, which has a talent gap against many of its opponents, those gaffes become a lot harder to make up for over time.

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

Penalty trouble puts FSU, Miami, Syracuse in early ACC hole (AP)

Figuring out how to fix it isn’t easy, either. “Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you (why) because I don’t know myself,” Syracuse defensive back Trill Williams said when asked about the penalties. “But it’s tied in with discipline. We’ve got to get more disciplined.” It is a trademark for good teams and one reason Clemson, Virginia and Wake Forest are unbeaten.

SU’s Babers not throwing DeVito under bus, but he’d like to throw him a lifeline (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle)

“I can start with the offensive line, it helps them going against guys who are considered the better guys in the country,’’ DeVito said. “Same with the running backs and wide receivers, to see that kind of pressure, and I can work on getting the ball out faster. We can build off this as a unit.’’

NY college athletes could earn money under one lawmaker’s proposal (Syracuse.com)

The legislation would also allow players to use an attorney or agent for business deals without punishment. “Students shouldn’t have to struggle if their skills are being profited from by the colleges and universities they attend,” the proposal says. “The issuance of a scholarship should not be the basis to deny athletes fair pay to play.”

There’s more to life than strength of schedule (Banner Society)

But the CFP’s main relation with SOS seems to be as a benchmark, rather than an obvious differentiator. Number of losses is still the most distinguishing metric, and as long as you’ve played well against a Power 5-lookin’ schedule, your SOS isn’t a big worry. This goes for teams not in power conferences as well, such as Notre Dame, but there’s a catch.

Tim Lester on Tommy DeVito: ‘Zero question on whether the kid has an arm’ (Syracuse.com)

“They’ve had to reshuffle their offensive line a little bit so he’s had people in his face,” Lester said Tuesday. “He had some success last year when he came in for Eric (Dungey). He can throw it now, there’s zero question on whether the kid has an arm. It’s the protection and the communication with his wide receivers as they are getting comfortable with what they’re doing.”

Women’s college lacrosse coaches think games are too long. Here’s their fix. (Syracuse.com)

Scoreless in last 5 games, Syracuse WSOC’s offense has disappeared (Daily Orange)

Syracuse Women’s Hockey picked to finish 3rd in conference by preseason coaches poll (Daily Orange)

4 ex-Syracuse lacrosse players taken in NLL draft (Syracuse.com)

Syracuse awards basketball scholarship to Shaun Belbey (Syracuse.com)