Dino Babers is keeping the Syracuse Orange offense pretty guarded as the Orange move through pre-season camp. It certainly makes sense that he doesn’t want to give the Louisville Cardinals anything to prepare for before the opening game. I’m sure Louisville’s staff knows about the running threat of Sean Tucker and Garrett Shrader but it’s not easy to picture them running the 2021 Virginia Cavaliers offense is it? We know that Shrader struggled on the deep ball last year while Brennan Armstrong was among the best in the P5.
Most 20+ yard completions among P5 QBs:— PFF College (@PFF_College) November 23, 2021
1. Sam Hartman, Wake Forest: 39
2. Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh: 35
2. Brennan Armstrong, Virginia: 35pic.twitter.com/5YKaLDEpTV
Does that mean Syracuse fans can expect to see Shrader airing it out this fall? Perhaps they will but more likely they will see the Orange focus on “moving the chains”.
“If he operates at a high level, chains move, chains move, redzone, redzone, scoring points opportunity, scoring points, everybody’s happy,” Babers said.
This makes a lot of sense when you look at the strength of the Syracuse offense. We know what Tucker can do running the ball so if the Orange can get a better mix of play design and play calling they can have an effective passing game. It’s a lot easier to throw when teams are loaded up to stop the run or caught off-balance.
If Robert Anae’s offense can take Shrader’s skills with his legs and get him to connect on easy throws Syracuse can run a high-tempo offense. Then when defenses are unable to attack you can catch them with big plays. The taller wide receivers on the outside should see opportunities in single coverage and will need to make plays when given a chance but the real weapons will likely be in the slot positions.
Courtney Jackson and DeVaughn Cooper stand to see a lot of throws heading their way and if the game plan is working they could find themselves working in space against safeties or even linebackers. Opening up throwing lanes in the middle of the field could give Shrader easier reads and the ability to get into rhythm. Even though the Syracuse passing game struggled down the stretch, that duo combined for 19 receptions in the final three games.
To get the Orange offense operating at a higher tempo this fall, it will fall to the offense to keep the chains moving. Big plays certainly excite the crowd but the offense moving up and down the field does far more damage to the opposing defense as the game wears on. We’re going to have to wait until opening night to see the new offense in action but I wouldn’t be surprised if motion and plenty of crossing routes are a big part of the plan.