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Syracuse football 2021 season preview: Offensive roundtable

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The TNIAAM staff gets together to share some thoughts on the Syracuse offense

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

The Syracuse Orange kickoff this Saturday night against the Ohio Bobcats. We’ve done plenty of previews, but the TNIAAM football crew wanted to make sure we answered some lingering, burning questions (or more lingering, burning questions than last week) about the offensive side of the ball before the season officially began.

____ will be the QB with the most total yards.

Andy: Tommy DeVito, after a rebound season that sees him rack up a career high 2500 yards and 20 TDs.

John: It’ll be DeVito. I think we still see plenty of Garrett Shrader, but as a preview for next year when he takes the reins completely under center. Tommy probably puts up something in the 2,400-yard range with 18 touchdowns. Not what we’d initially had designs on when he committed to much fanfare years ago. But I think most of us would take that result this year.

Christian: It should still be Tommy DeVito. If it’s someone else, something has gone badly wrong, which would most likely lead to another disappointing season. Babers has made known that he wants to have DeVito play all 12 games this year, something he hasn’t had the chance to do at all in college. It’s clear that Babers still trusts DeVito, and I’m not sure that Shrader has the arm to quite fit into the system that Syracuse is reportedly tailoring to match DeVito’s strengths.

Kevin: Tommy DeVito will have the most total yards and in a slight upset he ends up with more rushing yards but Shrader tops him in rushing TD’s.

Steve: DeVito will win the overall yards game. Though if you didn’t know I was on the DeVito train at this point, you probably haven’t read anything I’ve written. I think there’s too many unknowns for Shrader to possibly take over early enough, barring injury, though he will get his snaps in.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Who will be this year’s “breakout” player?

Andy: Cooper Lutz. The running back has played his way into the backup “slash” to Sean Tucker’s “bash,” and the improved offensive lines allows the back to rack up over 500 total yards this year.

John: Granted, would argue that no one on this offensive depth chart has ever really “broken out” in their careers. But if we’re looking at the most surprising option available, would select Damien Alford. Syracuse has lacked a true deep threat of late, and Alford has the size to fit that bill. No scouting report on him should help early too, in terms of padding his stats a bit.

Christian: Cooper Lutz has an excellent opportunity to really establish himself as a reliable and consistent option. His versatility as a running back and a pass catcher gives opponents a unique problem to solve, and his blocking at times looked better than Sean Tucker. He already pulled off some great games last year, and a healthier offensive line could help him star as one of the No. 2 running backs.

Kevin: Damien Alford will lead the Orange in receiving TD’s grabbing 7.

Steve: With the known commodities on the offense, it’s tough to get a gauge on a “breakout” option outside of the WR corps. Alford is the smart pick, but I’m going with a dark horse in Oronde Gadsden II since there’s flashes, with him showing up on the 2-deep as a true frosh.

What will be Syracuse’s average points per game?

Andy: The Orange offense will be renewed and average 30 points a game, with a steady diet of big plays in the air and a consistent rushing attack.

John: Last year was pretty rough at under 18 points per game. So not that. But maybe something along the lines of 28 points per game, which would put them around the middle of the country. Not great, but still a vast improvement.

Christian: I’m still not sold on the offensive line being strong enough to keep Syracuse in games. It has to start with them and if they haven’t improved, the Orange offense will continue to struggle. I’m saying 20 points per game right now.

Kevin: The Orange will average 34 ppg.

Steve: Going to go with 27ppg, though most people will think that’s high with the question marks. I think the offense will find itself this season.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Who will be the offensive MVP?

Andy: Sean Tucker will become a fantasy machine, as he will be leaned on in the red zone and rack up double digit touchdowns along with 1000 yards.

John: It’s Sean Tucker. This Syracuse offense’s improvement is entirely based on what happens with this line. But Tucker looked great behind a poor line last year. If this year’s is average, he’ll be the tone-setter this attack needs and could put up some big numbers as the focal point for SU.

Christian: The common answer is Sean Tucker, and there’s not much reason to believe otherwise. Chris Elmore has an argument for his blocking and versatility, but Tucker is the running back that I think Babers has been looking for to establish the tempo he wants.

Kevin: Offensive MVP will be Chris Elmore as he paves the way for Sean Tucker’s 1000 yard season while contributing 5 TD’s himself

Steve: Sean Tucker brings home the hardware due to the hard work of the reformed line under Mike Schmidt and a lead blocker the caliber of Rhino.

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