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Syracuse football: What are the biggest questions facing the Orange as the season approaches?

The Orange have a few questions to answer when the ball kicks off

Clemson v Syracuse Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange football team held another scrimmage on Saturday but we can only speculate on what happened behind closed doors. With the final week of camp starting let’s look at some of the biggest questions remaining for the Orange

Can the “pups” guard the house?

Dino Babers said his defensive line might “run around like young puppies” and after missing out on any transfers, these young players will have to deliver. The 3-3-5 doesn’t require them to compile big numbers of tackles but the group must stay disciplined against dual-threat quarterbacks. If this group can play assignment football and leave the Syracuse linebackers free to make plays, the Syracuse defense can improve on last year’s numbers.

Back to #PunterU?

Last year the Syracuse special teams was pretty bad. One of the biggest issues was the punting unit as James Williams, Ian Hawkins and Colby Barker averaged under 40 yards a kick. A team that plays inside a Dome cannot afford to trot out an unreliable unit when they need to flip the field. Max von Marburg has been added from Australia and we’ll see if it’s him or one of the returners who win the job. Syracuse’s depth should allow for better kick coverage but the punters need to flip the field when called upon.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 11 Rutgers at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Can Syracuse dominate the red zone?

One stat that can’t be overlooked in Syracuse’s 5-7 season was the difference in red-zone efficiency. The Orange offense converted on 26 of 34 attempts (76.47%) while their opponents were 40 for 46 (86.96%) in the red zone. One way to turn those close losses into wins is to convert when given those opportunities and find a way to stop your opponent. If Syracuse can’t improve in this area in 2022, they are going to find it hard to get back to the Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl.

What are some areas your concerned about heading into the season?