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Syracuse Preview 2006 - Offense
Syracuse Orangemen
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 1, 2006


Syracuse Orange Preview 2006 - Syracuse Orange Offense

What you need to know ... The West Coast attack did absolutely nothing last season finishing 117th in the nation in total offense and 116th in scoring averaging 257 yards and 13.8 points per game. Worse yet, things got worse as the season went on. There's hope for immediate improvement with talented sophomores at running back and the line to build around and good young receivers to push starters Tim Lane and Rice Moss. Can one of the quarterbacks get things moving? Perry Patterson is the main man, but he'll be pushed hard by Joe Fields, Cameron Dantley and Matt Hale.

Returning Leaders
Passing: Perry Patterson
130-273, 1,504 yds, 6 TD, 11 INT
Rushing: Kareem Jones
123 carries, 108 yds, 0 TD
Receiving: Tim Lane
27 catches, 341 yds, 1 TD

Star of the offense: Senior QB Perry Patterson
Player that has to step up and become a star: Patterson
Unsung star on the rise: Redshirt freshman WR Lavar Lobdell
Best pro prospect: Lobdell
Top three all-star candidates: 1) RB Curtis Brinkley, 2) OG Carroll Madison, 3) Patterson
Strength of the offense: Young prospects, running back
Weakness of the offense: Proven
quarterback, line depth

Quarterbacks
It's a chicken and egg problem for the Orange quarterbacks. Are they not that good, or do they not have any talent around them to work with? Experience certainly won't be an issue with Perry Patterson the main man over the last 39 games and Joe Fields a veteran reserve. Cameron Dantley is an interesting young prospect, while big Matt Hale is a big option if the offense is looking for a pure passer.
The key to the unit: Efficiency. SU quarterbacks finished 117th in the nation in passing efficiency with only Ohio and Duke having more problems. Getting the offense moving in some way, shape, or form is priority one.
Quarterback Rating: 6

Projected Starter
- Perry Patterson, Sr. - 139-273, 48%, 1,504 yds, 6 TD, 11 INT, 3 rushing touchdowns
Theoretically, Patterson should be a nice fit for what the coaching staff wants to do. He's a 6-4, 242-pound bomber with a great arm and enough mobility to design running plays around, but it just hasn't worked out for him over the course of his career. While he's seventh on the school's all-time passing list, he has only completed 53% of his passes over the course of his career with 13 touchdown passes and 21 interceptions. The coaching staff has basically given him the starting job, but he has to produce early this fall.

Top Backups
- Joe Fields, Jr. - 9-28, 32%, 155 yds, 3 INT, 25 carries, 64 yds, 2.6 ypc
Fields has seen plenty of time over his first two seasons getting a few starts. He's not the big passer that Perry Patterson is and he has had problems with interceptions, but he's a good runner who could provide a spark now that he knows what he's doing. He'll get every shot to step up and take away the starting job this summer.
- Cameron Dantley, RFr.
A good passer with big-time upside, the 6-1, 222-pound son of former NBA star Adrian Dantley might not be in the mix for the number one job this season, but he should see plenty of work if things start to go south again.
- Matt Hale, Jr. - 0-2
A big 6-5, 221-pound pro-style quarterback, Hale saw a little bit of tome against Virginia misfiring on both of his passes. He might be number four in the quarterback race, but he has enough practice experience to work his way up the depth chart if he can be steady.

Running Backs
The loss of Damien Rhodes took away 219 of the team's 396 carries and 900 of the team's 1,172 yards, but there's hope for the nation's 107th ranked rushing attack to make a big improvement. There's plenty of talent with sophomores Curtis Brinkley and Kareem Jones each good enough grow into a special featured back. Paul Chiara is a good-looking young back who'll get every shot at the starting job, while Jeremy Sellers is back from injury to provide some power.
The key to the unit: Make things happen. There's plenty of quickness and potential among the young backs. There's no reason to only average three yards a carry again.
Running Back Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- Curtis Brinkley, Soph. - 7 carries, 26 yds, 3.7 ypc
Brinkley is neck and neck with Paul Chiara for the starting tailback job, but he has way too much talent to not be the featured back. He adds a bit more flash and more talent with the speed to be a solid kick returner. 

- Fullback Stephen McDonald, Jr. - 2 carries, 12 yds, 2 catches, 16 yds
McDonald finally broke the injury curse coming back from a broken leg to start in six games. He's a 240-pound blocker with enough power to be used as a regular for the ground game in short yardage situations.

Top Backups
- Paul Chiara, Soph. - 16 carries, 94 yds, 4 catches, 30 yds, 7.5 ypc
Chiara got the top spot on the depth chart coming out of spring ball combining with Curtis Brinkley. He was an All-Big East performer in the classroom, and now he needs to provide a little bit of power along with his decent speed burst. Don't expect him to be a workhorse, but he should be effective with 10-15 carries a game.
- Kareem Jones. Soph. - 42 carries, 108 yds, 2.6 ypc, 5 catches, 43 yds, 8.6 ypc
Jones made his mark as a kickoff returner and second leading rusher as a true freshman. Now he'll use his speed and size to be more of a factor in the running back rotation where he should quickly find around ten carries per game. He's a slippery back with a little bit of power between the tackles..
- Jeremy Sellers, Jr.
A safety and receiver early in his career, the 203-pound junior suffered a foot injury early on last year and ended up missing the rest of the season. He should grow into a part-time role once he's 100%.
- Fullback Bryone Evans, Soph. - 3 catches, 8 yds
Evans will combine with Tony Flammetta for the backup fullback job after seeing plenty of action as a reserve last season. He has decent hands and isn't a bad blocker.

Receivers
Depending on the quarterback improvement, expect the receiving corps to be much better. Tim Lane and Rice Moss are decent veterans who might be quickly pushed out of the way by 2005's star recruit Lavar Lobdell, who's back from a season-ending shoulder injury, and JUCO transfer Taj Smith. In other words, there are more options this year. Steady tight end Joe Kowlewski has to be replaced, but Tom Ferron and Brandon Darlington will be more than fine.
The key to the unit: The receiver have to make the quarterbacks better and provide some sort of a threat to take the heat off the ground game.
Receiver Rating: 6.5

Projected Starters
- Tim Lane, Sr. - 27 catches, 341 yds, 12.6 ypc, 1 TD
Lane had a consistent year at the X, but he was hardly explosive with a high game of 74 yards coming against Cincinnati. He's a physical 6-2, 206 pounds with nice hands and the speed to be a decent kick returner. Now he has to be more of a big-play target.

- Rice Moss, Jr. - 26 catches, 359 yds, 13.8 ypc
He's 6-2, 201 pounds, and fast. The team's leading yardage receiver last season, Moss was mostly a possession target until catching six passes for 116 yards in the season finale against Louisville. With his experience and skills, he needs to get the ball in his hands at least 40 times.

- Tight end Brandon Darlington, Sr. - 1 catch, 12 yds
The career reserve has good hands and is a strong blocker, but he's not great at getting open. The 6-4, 260-pound senior will be part of a steady rotation being used mostly in the running game.

Top Backups
- Lavar Lobdell, RFr.
Lodbell was the program's big recruit last season and was thrown into the mix right away as a true freshman before getting knocked out for the year with a shoulder injury. He's 6-3 and 201 pounds with next-level skills. If the Orange passing game is going to make a quick turnaround, Lobdell will be a main reason.
- Taj Smith, Jr.
The JUCO transfer is expected to make an immediate impact challenging for time behind Rice Moss. He caught 53 passes and scored ten touchdowns last season for Bakersfield Community College. He's 6-1 and 184 pounds with good hands and great quickness.
- Jeremy Horne, RFr.
A strong prospect who'll be slowly brought into the mix, the 6-2 Horne will look for time as a third receiver and on special teams.
- Tight end
Tom Ferron, Soph. - 3 catches, 46 yds, 15.3 ypc
Ferron didn't see a lot of action as a true freshman, but he made an impact when he was on the field. He's a tough all-around player with better receiving skills than Brandon Darlington. He'll be a major factor in two tight end sets.

Offensive Linemen
The line has to be better after allowing 37 sacks and paving the way for a mere 107 rushing yards per game, but it might not be right away with several new starters and no experienced depth. There is hoe for a bit of a turnaround as the season goes on with four promising sophomores to build around and an all-star JUCO transfer in Ian Hammond to bring a little bit of experience.

The key to the unit: Improve from week to week. This hardly going to be a dominant line in September, but it could be the strength of the team in 2007.
Offensive Line Rating: 6

Projected Starters
- OT Corey Chavers, Soph.
Chavers will take over one of the starting tackle spots after spending last year on the bench. He's a tall, athletic 6-5 and 295 pounds with plenty of upside, but he's raw and will need time to learn on the fly.
- OG Carroll Madison, Soph.
Madison got in better shape working his way down to 316 pounds last year and now returns as one of the team's most experienced linemen. Able to play anywhere on the line with starts at left tackle and left guard, he'll have to be a rock for the young line.
- C Justin Outten, Sr.
Despite starting every game last year, Outten is hardly a lock to get the job come fall. He's strong and isn't a bad all-around blocker, but he's only 274 pounds and gets pushed around a little too much.
- OG Ryan Durand, Soph.
The team's most talented lineman, the 6-5, 312-pound sophomore saw time as a reserve last year and now will take over for Steve Franklin at right guard. His emergence could be a big boost to a line sorely in need of an upgrade.
- OT Eugene Newsome, Soph.
The massive 6-7, 322-pound sophomore was mostly a special teamer last season. Now he'll get the start at right tackle replacing Quinn Ojinnaka. He has the long frame to grow into a strong pass protector, but he's going to need time to figure out what he's doing.

Top Backups
- C Marvin McCall, Jr.
At 292 pounds, he's a much bigger option than Justin Otten in the middle. McCall didn't play over the last two years but saw plenty of practice time at both guard and center.
- T Ian Hammond, Jr.
The All-America JUCO transfer is expected to be an instant factor at tackle battling Corey Chavers for time. He's 6-3 and 308 pounds  with great pass blocking technique.

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