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Syracuse football might be missing some cats on Friday night

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Dino Babers doesn’t expect to be at full strength vs Liberty

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

After several Syracuse Orange players missed last week’s game against Albany there was concern that a short week might leave the Orange at less than full-strength again this Friday. During his weekly radio show Dino Babers confirmed this but hinted that not all of the players would miss a second consecutive game

“I wouldn’t be telling you the truth to tell you we’re going to be at full strength. We’re not going to be at full strength. We’re going to be missing some cats that you guys are going to be like, ‘oh wow.’ And then we may have some guys back that you guys may say, ‘oh wow.’ There’s going to be some surprises on both sides.”

What could Babers mean by surprises? We’ve heard that Taj Harris was expecting back and even though the Orange scored 62 points last week they would certainly welcome back their biggest threat in the passing game. His return would be especially important as tight end Luke Benson was knocked out of last week’s game and seems to be one of the “cats” that will be missing on Friday night. With Chris Elmore also unlikely to return the Orange are down to two available tight ends. Could we see more plays with two running backs in the backfield or will Syracuse rely on Max Mang’s blocking?

Syracuse v Maryland Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Could Dino be hinting at a bigger return for offensive lineman Dakota Davis? During the show offensive line coach Mike Schmidt acknowledged that moving Airon Servais back to center had everything to do with improving the running game. If Davis is back at guard then Syracuse could be looking at giving the Flames a heavy dose of Sean Tucker runs up the middle. We know Steve will certainly be keyed into the offensive line play again this week.

Even more important for the Orange would be getting Garrett Williams and Ja’Had Carter back as they prepare for Malik Willis. Syracuse’s defense is off to a strong start and adding two of the starters back into the secondary would be ideal as the NFL scouts pour into the Dome to watch the top prospect in action. There’s also Kingsley Jonathan who would give the Orange another defensive lineman to apply pressure on Willis and the Liberty offense.

Which cats are you hoping to see back in action tomorrow night in the Dome?