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Syracuse football: Three areas the offense can improve in 2023

Let’s look at what the numbers show


While Syracuse Orange football fans worry about the 2023 Orange offense, a look back show some candidates for improvement. The status of Garrett Shrader, LeQuint Allen, and the state of the offensive line may be unknown right now, but let’s take a look at some ways the Orange could be more efficient with the ball this Fall.

The website contains a lot of data which looks at Expected Points Added (EPA), which is a metric used “to calculate the added point value of every play.” To put it simply, it’s a measure of an offense’s explosiveness. The Orange ranked 90th in EPA on offense in 2022 and when you can’t create explosive plays, it means you need to grind out scoring drives. This works when you have a talent advantage, but if you want to knock off better teams, you’d better be able to hit some big plays.

Here’s three areas where we’ll be looking to see Jason Beck’s offense improve in 2023

Yards before contact

No matter who takes a hand-off (or for designed Shrader runs), it’s important that the Orange offensive line does a better job of creating initial holes. Yes, Syracuse loses Matthew Bergeron but injuries last year meant this group lacked continuity. Even if individual talent is down, cohesiveness and play-calling could create better situations for this group to allow the backs to enter the 2nd level more often.


It’s really baffling that a team with Sean Tucker used play-action so infrequently last season. Holding the linebackers and safeties in the middle of the field could lead to more one on one chances down the field, and allow Oronde Gadsden some open space to operate. Another way to create big plays is to give the backs and receivers chances against single defenders down the field, which leads to this last area


Is it the scheme or the players? Maybe a bit of both. The Syracuse receivers outside of Gadsden didn’t demonstrate the ability to create separation and the offense needs to find the right players or scheme to change this. It’s tough to try and win games by asking the offense to go on long, sustained drives.

If the Orange are to get back into Top 25 territory, creating easier opportunities for the offense is a priority. Creating big plays is something we’ll be watching for early in the season. Syracuse is going to need to be more explosive in 2023 if they want to improve upon last year’s 7-6 record.