The Syracuse Orange held their first public scrimmage on Friday night. We watched (in case you didn’t) and we have some thoughts to share.
What’s your biggest takeaway from the scrimmage?
Kevin: Dino Babers said his offense was faster and even without a number of starters there are some big play threats for the Orange pushing to see the field next fall.
Steve: It seems that the offense is actually clicking with a few wrinkles in there. It’s tough to take a ton from a ones versus twos scenario but from what we can see it looks like the depth is improving all around as well.
Mike: The offense didn’t look half bad even while running a pretty standard playbook, and players were taking far more advantage of favorable matchups than late last year.
Christian: Depth, once again, could be a massive issue. There’s a noticeable drop-off in skill level between the ones and twos.
Which players stood out for you on Friday?
Kevin: I’ll go with a couple of young players. Donovan Brown looks like he’s going to be a legitimate deep threat and both Jatius Geer and Francois Nolton look physically ready to contribute early in their careers
Steve: The spring enrollee defensive linemen including Nolton and Dennis Jaquez looked up to the task with a little more work. Both ran with the twos against the first string offense. Also I’m sure it will get mentioned but Justin Lamson surprised as well… in a good way.
Mike: Damien Alford did exactly what I wanted and beat a one-on-one matchup for a long TD. Juwaun Price looked great on his outside runs; hopefully he’ll give Sean Tucker a bit of rest from his bell-cow duties.
Christian: Justin Lamson looked really comfortable slinging the rock. No clue if that translates well against ACC defenses but the touch on his passes look excellent and accurate.
Did we learn anything about Robert Anae’s offense?
Kevin: The one thing I noticed was that the slot receivers aren’t just the small shifty receivers. We might see some bigger targets used inside to allow for easier throws from the QBs.
Steve: Anae wasn’t afraid to show the trickery, which is pretty well a cornerstone of his at this point, so I guess doesn’t hurt to show it. The regular offense seemed pretty vanilla but as Kevin mentioned the personnel use got tweaked. I did like the use of frontside-guard-pulling powers off tackle as well.
Mike: It may have been with backup QB Justin Lamson, but he was not afraid to have him air the ball out when the chances were there. Considering how infrequent the deep balls were last year, that is a really good sign.
Christian: Not everything is a run up the middle. That’s great and the hope is that Syracuse doesn’t have it’s revolving door problem at tackle like it did in the past few years to give Sean Tucker room to run.
Do you have any major concerns after watching on Friday?
Kevin: The scrimmage did nothing to ease my mind about the offensive and defensive lines. Both groups will need to be healthy on 2022.
Steve: The second-string CBs didn’t give me the warm fuzzy feeling behind Garrett and Deuce but they’re also young and an off-season can cure some of those ails.
Mike: Depth all around on the defensive side looked very suspect. This team is going to need to stay healthy or they'll be torn apart by many of their opponents this fall.
Christian: There still isn’t a clear-cut standout option at wide receiver and RB2. It’s important that Syracuse has options. Perhaps consider a tight end.
How many Dome tins are now in your collection?
Kevin: Amazingly none but something tells me we will have a few opportunities to acquire them.
Steve: Three, from the original giveaway because of my son mandating we all took one. So if anyone is interested I’ve got spares.
Mike: Also three at one point, but I only kept one for myself. It’s not like I’d have trouble getting another if I suddenly decide I want it.
Christian: Zero. And I shall keep it that way.