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Syracuse Lacrosse: Desko talks Evans, Mellen, and scheduling at SU Media Day

Coach John Desko came to the podium to expound on the important things in life, such as why SU’s RPI wasn’t great last year and what he expects from Jordan Evans and Nick Mellen.

NCAA Lacrosse: Quarterfinals- Syracuse-Johns Hopkins Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Syracuse Orange held its annual media day on Monday. I’ve put together some bullet points from Coach Desko’s time at the podium (full video here) and then below that are some full quotes. The conversation focused on Nick Mellen, the attack, Jordan Evans…, and why playing programs with low RPIs brings down your team’s RPI (Spoiler: it’s because they have a low RPI).

- Players who we could see at either attack or midfield: Nick Mariano, Brendan Bomberry, Tyler Ford

- Desko noted Brendan Bomberry’s ability around the cage and his box experience so it sounds like he may be leaning more towards putting him at the attack position

- Young players who could have an immediate impact: Jamie Trimboli (M), Peter Dearth (M), Logan Wisnauskas (A)

- Brett Kennedy is probably out for this season due to injury

- Nick Mellen (D) is still recovering and he is not back at practice yet, but it sounds like his recovery is progressing quickly

- Coach Desko is banking on Mellen growing as a defenseman in his sophomore year and shedding his freshman year mistakes

- While Mellen will be the number one defenseman, given his small stature there could be some matchup management if an opponent has a big, number one attackman

- Coach Desko is high on Tyson Bomberry after a great fall and he could be the third defenseman

- The coaching staff is still impressed with Evan Molloy and his communication and clearing abilities but even more so with the leadership role he has taken on

- Desko mentioned in a couple of places that Jordan Evans has to take the next step, become a bigger threat, and develop into more of a quarterback at attack, it doesn’t sound like there’s a ton patience left

- Desko is looking for Nate Solomon to be more consistent and for Brad Voigt and Gale Thorpe to step up this year

- It sounds like Nate Solomon could be the next guy up to fill the quarterbacking role if Evans isn’t up to it

- Ben Williams is ready to go after recovering from a medical procedure and is still a stud

- The SU-Hopkins game will be played at the Carrier Dome for the next two years and starting next season will be played one week earlier

- The staff has been, and will continue to look at making scheduling changes to potentially help the RPI in the future

Head Coach John Desko

On the bigger picture and where this team is at this point…

“I think it starts with Sergio [Salcido] and [Nick] Mariano up top, you know, playing in the midfield, maybe Mariano at attack a little bit. But we are still trying to figure out our combinations and as I mentioned earlier we’ve got some very good young players so we’ll be wrestling with some of the guys that are returning getting some playing time coming back and trying to get some of the younger guys in there in the future cause we feel like we’ve got some good talent in our freshman class if not for right now, definitely for the future.”

On the younger guys who could have an impact…

“I think you got [Jamie] Trimboli and [Peter] Dearth you know coming in, playing in the midfield position. Trimboli comes in from Victor, won the state championship and was a terrific midfielder there. [Logan] Wisnauskas from Boys’ Latin. [Devin] Shewell was hurt quite a bit last year, another guy from Boys’ Latin in Baltimore. You know we have a couple transfers coming in that we’re still trying to figure out, so a good bunch of guys, [Andrew] Helmer, [Brett] Kennedy unfortunately got hurt in the fall I’m not sure we’re going to see him this Spring but some good players defensively also that I think are going to help us.”

On players who could be switching positions…

“We’ve experimented with that right now, you know Bomberry, Brendan Bomberry, came in. Tyson Bomberry in the close end of the field has had a great fall. But Brendan transferred in from Denver was you know pretty much on their second midfield for them last year, we’re talking about him in two positions, and Mariano in two positions. Ford, Tyler Ford, played-you know has been playing pretty much midfield for us in the past and we’ve worked him at the attack end of the field, some, this fall.”

On what Desko likes about Denver transfer Brendan Bomberry…

“I think it starts with his knowledge of the game. He has great vision, he knows where other players are around him, he’s a very good finisher, he can play in two positions, we feel, in the attack and in the midfield. He’s gotten-we’re working on his dodging, I think he’s really good with two good players around him, two dodgers around him cause he’s got great sense, he’s got that-all that box experience which are natural finishers in tight around the goal.”

On Nick Mellen’s recovery and whether he’ll be ready…

“So we’re hoping we can get him back pretty quickly, I’m not sure if he’ll be there, he’s not going to be here for practice right away but he’s starting to work out and so we’ll see how it goes.”

On how valuable Nick Mellen will be to this roster…

“Very much needed, he, in a lot of games last year he covered the top attackman. He’s got great quickness so he’s got that ability to cover a real quick guy, and there are plenty of those out there this year. So the sooner we get him back the better off we’re going to be. Along with, as you mentioned, the returning starter, Marcus Cunningham, who was the fourth guy last year, you know he’s coming back, and again Ty Bomberry had a terrific fall so we’re looking, we’re looking to get him out in game situations and get him as much game experience as possible.”

On Nick Mellen’s role on the defense and how it will change…

“But, you know Mellen is, again, the sole returner and he’s going cover probably the best guy every game and he has great footwork so he has that ability to cover some players and he needs to get rid of some of the mistakes, the freshman mistakes he made off the ball, but we’re-you know with all the experience he got as a freshman it’s just going to make him a better player this year.”

On how Nick Mellen’s size could affect matchups…

“You know that’s tough to say, you know, if there’s a six four guy running around out there then we’ve got some other guys that might match up better in those situations.”

On whether or not Nick Mellen is ready to step into the number one defenseman position…

“I think so, I think he, I think he did a very good job of what we asked him to do last year. I think it was a nice situation because he stepped in, as you mentioned, with two experienced players on either side which helped him, you know, be more comfortable out there. I think Evan Molloy well help with that too. Defense is not just an individual play but it’s in the package and it has a lot to do with communication, I think our goalies do that very well. They communicate with the D and just help them you know mesh together, slides, second slide, recoveries, that communication is extremely important so that’ll help with that also.”

On whether there is a big opportunity for Jordan Evans…

“Oh most definitely, I think Jordan [Evans], you know, he played with [Tim] Barber and [Dylan] Donahue last year and got the second, third defender and this year he has to step into a whole new role, he’s got to be the top guy. He’s extremely knowledgeable of our offenses, man-ups and so on, so that will help him. But he’s got to take that next step and be a threat at the end of the field, and [Nate] Solomon back probably was our fourth attackman last year got more experience, more game time as the year went on. Played a little bit at the end of the year last year, had a big ACC Championship game. So he needs to come in to play, and you’ve got [Brad] Voigt and [Gale] Thorpe back there that have some-a little bit of experience from a year ago and they need to step up their games too.”

On Jordan Evans as the quarterback…

“Definitely, at the attack end of the field I see him, you know, taking charge there. Again, I think he’s very knowledgeable and we need that, we need him to start getting players in the right positions on the field. It’s-we have an attack position, a midfield position and he can come up and play into the midfield position too to make him more of a threat and yea, he needs to step up and be a big leader for us this year.”

On Nate Solomon…

“Well he has to, you know he came in and I think he worked his way into the offense, did fairly well with it, needs to be a threat this year. I think we got some-he got some dodges for goals last year, and we need him to be just consistent with that. He got a lot of game time this fall in our fall tournament, was pretty good there but I think still needs to step up, carry the ball more and be more of a threat.”

On Ben Williams…

“There are no secrets with Ben, you know, everybody knows who he is in the scouting report, and will come up with all kinds of gimmicks to try and slow him down or take the ball away from him. So and I think he’ll be ready for it. You know Coach Donahue’s worked very hard with him and he’s gotten better every year. I think he’s really healthy now, you know a year ago he was a little banged up and he had a procedure done so he’s, really, you know, physically ready to go now.”

On Evan Molloy…

“Well I think it just, you know the first thing that comes to mind is confidence. And that, when he came in last year he showed a lot of confidence going in early, communicated really well was a big part of it and his clearing game was really big for us and came in and I think he was-really turned some things around for us, got some wins for us, and now this year with last season behind him and playing a little bit this fall I think he’s ready to go and playing with a lot of confidence. A lot of leadership.”

On how last season ended, and scheduling changes in the future…

“Yea. Yea, you know some of it now is, we have to look at our scheduling. Last year where we got seeded had a lot to do with RPI and you don’t have a crystal ball as far as how your opponents are going to do every year, I mean once upon a time, you know teams like Siena were winning their conference, you know Cornell was a final four team, and you know Hobart was really high in their conference, so teams like that were a little bit down last year and as a result their RPIs were a little bit lower and now when you play, you know when its, when you play teams that are really high in the RPI and really low in the RPI, your RPI meets in the middle. When you’re playing teams that are really high in the RPI and teams in the middle in the RPI, your meeting up towards the, you know the upper third. So you look at your scheduling, that’s something that we’ve talked about over the summer, we’ll be talking about this year as far as do we need to change our schedule going forward a little bit and, and you know adding a couple more tigers on the schedule.”