What You Need To Know About The Syracuse Offense
– The passing game once again bombed away, finishing second in the ACC averaging close to 300 yards per game for the high-powered, but one-dimensional attack. The style works, the offense works, and the air show works – the system is sound – but it’ll still be a problem losing the 194 catches for the over 2,200 yards and 11 scores from Steve Ishmael and Ervin Phillips.
Devin Butler is the next star up, and TE Ravian Pierce is a good-looking pass catcher who should take on a bigger role. There are plenty of options, and the rest of the offense is in place, but the pressure is on – Ishmael and Phillips were that good. Fortunately …
– The quarterback situation is outstanding. Eric Dungey has been fantastic over the last few years – when healthy. He wasn’t quite accurate enough last year, and he’s had problems being able to stay on the field, but he’ll bomb away with anyone – he’s a home-run hitting quarterback. If there are any issues, redshirt freshman Tommy DeVito appears to be ready. He was last year’s star recruit, and the heir apparent to take over the attack whenever it’s his time.
– The line has to be better in pass protection. Yeah, Syracuse threw the ball 548 times, but the line still needed to be/needs to be far better after finishing last in the ACC in sacks allowed, giving up 32. Four starters are back, but they all have to be far better. And that’s where Koda Martin comes in. The Texas A&M graduate transfer might be an instant fix – at least, that’s the hope.
The running backs have to do more, too – Dungey can’t be the team’s leading runner again. Moe Neal was the top running back with 488 yards, and Dontae Strickland is a decent-sized back with a little pop around the goal line. Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams won’t be available until next year, but freshmen Jarveon Howard and Jawhar Jordan are promising recruits who might see an early role.
Biggest Key To The Syracuse Offense
The downfield passing game has to show up. Yeah, Syracuse will throw and keep throwing, and yeah, it’ll be effective with a whole lot of yards, but even with new starting targets it has to be more efficient, and it has to be more dangerous.
The Orange averaged just 6.5 yards per attempt – almost a full yard down from 2016. It didn’t help when Dungey went down, with the backup options combining for seven of the 16 interceptions. Syracuse can’t be 12th in the ACC in passing efficiency again.