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Things started to slip under former head coach Paul Pasqualoni, but
the 6-6 seasons of 2003 and 2004 looked like national title
campaigns compared to last year's 1-10 fiasco.
Was it the coaching, the talent, or a little of both? How could such
a proud program have fallen so far? Call it a case of a new staff
tying to implement a new system and not having too much luck. The
defense, head coach Greg Robinson's forte, was just fine, but the
offense, well, the defense was just fine.
The Syracuse offense had been having problems over the years,
but the new West Coast attack took things down to another level.
Nothing seemed to work as the year went on with little production
from the quarterbacks and not nearly enough of a push from the
running game. After September, the SU attack failed to generate more
than 17 points.
Head coach: Greg Robinson
2nd year: 1-10
Off. 17, Def. 23, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 24
Best Orange Players
1. LB Kelvin Smith, Sr.
2. CB Tanard Jackson, Sr.
3. P Brendan Carney, Sr.
4. SS Dowayne Davis, Jr.
5. QB Perry Patterson, Sr.
6. OG Carroll Madison, Soph.
7. RB Curtis Brinkley, Soph.
8. NT Chris Thorner, Jr.
9. WR Rice Moss, Jr.
10. LB Jerry Mackey, Sr.
at Wake Forest
at West Virginia
at South Florida
2005 Record: 1-10
2005 predicted wins
Virginia L 27-24
at Florida State L 38-14
at Connecticut L 26-7
at Pittsburgh L 34-17
at Notre Dame L 34-10
at Louisville L 41-17
Fine, so Syracuse isn't going to take the Big East by storm this year,
either. That's O.K. as long as big strides are being made for the
future. As many as nine underclassmen could end up starting in key
spots, and most of the top talents are inexperienced backups ... at
least for now.
Job one has to be to figure out how to generate more points. Quarterback
Perry Patterson has been around long enough to be more of a playmaker
and more of a consistent leader; he has to make everyone around him
better. Despite the loss of Damien Rhodes, the backfield should grow
into a strength if Curtis Brinkley and Kareem Jones can break out. The
receiving corps has great players like Lavar Lobdell and Taj Smith
ready to push the starters, and the line has four rising sophomores
that'll have to take their lumps before possibly forming the strength of
the team in 2007.
Until things start to jell on offense, can Robinson and his staff pick
up the slack with a defense that returns four starters? Linebacker
Kelvin Smith and corner Tanard Jackson are All-America caliber
performers to build around. The back seven will be surprisingly strong,
while the line should be good against the run. Depth needs to be
developed and there's no proven pass rush, but Robinson will quickly
find a way to rectify both situations.
SU has to show signs of life this season and can't get blown out in game
after game again. Robinson's future might depend on it.
Schedule: There are only five bowl teams on the slate, and two of
those are against South Florida and Rutgers. There's a problem with the
lack of gimmes; winnable games against teams like Wake Forest, Illinois,
and Cincinnati are on the road. The Orange has to take advantage of an
early home stand against Miami University, Wyoming and Pitt, and has to
try to hold up against the big boys Iowa, at West Virginia and
Louisville before the schedule lightens up.
Offensive Player: Senior QB Perry Patterson. He has the size, the
arm, and the mobility to be a great all-around quarterback. Now he has
to put it all together and be a consistent passer and a better leader of
the offense. While he has the starting job, that could quickly change if
he struggles early on.
Defensive Player: Senior LB Kelvin Smith. The 233-pound senior
projects as a better outside linebacker at the next level, but there's
not a more sure tackler in the Big East and he should be in the hunt for
defensive player of the year honors in the middle.
to a successful season:
Patterson. Joe Fields, Cameron Dantley and Matt Hale will all get shots
to show what they can do, but for the offense to put up more than 13.8
points per game, Patterson has to shine. He has to be more comfortable
in the West Coast offense and has to be effective on third downs.
will be a success if ... Syracuse wins six games. It would be a huge turnaround
considering how bad the team was last year, but it's possible with Wake
Forest, Illinois, Miami University, Wyoming, Cincinnati, and Connecticut
all at SU's level.
September 2nd at Wake Forest. A win in the season opener would do
wonders considering the team won one game last year. With Iowa and at
Illinois ahead, the possibility of a crushing 0-3 start exists if the
Orange can't get by the Demon Deacons..
- Third down
conversions: Opponents 55 of 169 (33%) - Syracuse 34 of 165 (21%)
- Rushing yards per game: Opponents 187.3 yards per game - Syracuse
106.5 yards per game
- Fourth down conversions: Opponents 9 of 12 (75%) - Syracuse 8 of 19
The Last Time Syracuse…
…played in a bowl game…2004 (Champs Sports Bowl vs. Georgia Tech)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2005 (Buffalo)
…was shutout…2005 (South Florida)
…scored 50 points…2002 (Virginia Tech)
…won a conference title…2004 (share, Big East)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…never
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2003 (Walter Reyes)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1995 (Marvin Harrison)
…had a first-round draft choice…2002 (DE Dwight Freeney)