2010 Record: (8-5, 4-3 in Big East)
Head Coach: Doug Marrone (12-13 at Syracuse)
Last Bowl Game: 2010 Pinstripe Bowl (beat Kansas State 36-34)
CFBZ Syracuse Links
9/3: Wake Forest
9/10: Rhode Island
9/17: at USC
10/1: Rutgers (2010 result: won 13-10)
10/8: at Tulane
10/21: West Virginia (2010 result: won 19-14)
10/29: at Louisville (2010 result: lost 28-20)
11/5: at UConn (2010 result: lost 23-6)
11/11: USF (2010 result: won 13-9)
11/26: Cincinnati (2010 result: lost 23-6)
12/3: at Pittsburgh (2010 result: lost 45-14)
2010 Offensive Statistics:
Scoring: 22.2 ppg (7th in Big East, 93rd in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 140.15 yds/game (7th in Big East, 76th in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 182.7 yds/game (6th in Big East, 91st in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 322.8 yds/game (6th in Big East, 97th in Nation)
2010 Defensive Statistics:
Scoring: 19.3 ppg (3rd in Big East, 17th in Nation)
Rushing Yds/Game: 136.15 yds/game (5th in Big East, 41st in Nation)
Passing Yds/Game: 164.2 yds/game (1st in Big East, 7th in Nation)
Total Yds/Game: 300.3 yds/game (2nd in Big East, 7th in Nation)
2010 Misc Stats:
Turnover Margin: -0.31 per game (6th in Big East, 75th in Nation)
Penalties: 60.5 yds/game (6th in Big East, 98th in Nation)
Top Returning Statistical Leaders:
Passing: QB Ryan Nassib, Sr (202 of 358 for 2334 yds, 19 TD, 8 INT)
Rushing: RB Antwon Bailey, Sr (114 for 554 yds, 2 TD)
Receiving: WR Van Chew, Sr (41 rec for 611 yds, 5 TD)
Tackles: FS Phillip Thomas, Jr (92)
Sacks: DE Chandler Jones, Jr (4)
Interceptions: FS Phillip Thomas, Jr; S Jeremi Wilkes, Soph (1)
Athlon Sports: Champs Sports (vs Miami)
Phil Steele: None
Everybody who predicted Syracuse would win eight games last year please stand up. Since you are all still sitting let's talk about the surprising season that the Orange had last year. Syracuse was coming off of a 2009 season in which two of their wins four wins were against Maine and Akron. But somehow, Doug Marrone got his guys to buy in and improved his team from four to eight wins. Sure they had some easy ones like Akron, Maine and Colgate but they also had a couple of big wins against West Virginia (in the top 25 at the time) and South Florida. Syracuse certaintly didn't do it by being an offensive juggernaut. Our buddies over at the SB Nation blog Big East Coast Bias pointed out today on the Twitter Machine that in the West Virginia game last year the Orange only passed for 63 total yards...and still won. Marrone got his team to buy in on defense last year and it paid off big time for them. From 2009 to 2010 the Orange decreased their opponents scoring by 8.6 points per game and allowed 36.7 less yards. If Marrone can continue to get that buy-in from his team and can get his recruits in place then Syracuse could be poised to jump back into being a contender for the Big East Championship. I don't think it will happen this year but it's not as crazy as you might think as they were only one game behind the conference champion last year. We reached out to Brian Harrison of the great Syracuse blog Orange::44 to get his take on the 2011 version of the Syracuse Orange.
Syracuse had a huge turn around last year. What do you think was the biggest reason for the success Syracuse had last year?
Syracuse’s defense massively improved from the previous year. Doug Marrone, unlike the last coach we try not to mention, has actually tried to implement a total program of making these kids good students and citizens. The players have bought in. They set the goal of a bowl game and they achieved it. While Syracuse caught a few lucky breaks, they really did it with hard nosed defense and a commitment to their goal. And it’s shocking what good coaching can get you, and it shows how bad of a coach the last guy was. These were his guys that couldn’t buy a win, and the past year they won a bowl game. Probably the best turnaround in NCAA football last year. About time.
Syracuse returns only five starters on defense. Who needs to step up this year for the Orange to be as good defensively as they were last year?
This season it will be up to Chandler Jones and Mikhail Marinovich. Jones was effective last season but Doug Hogue and Derrell Smith got most of the press. Jones, a massive fan favorite and brother of UFC fighter Jon “Bones” Jones and Baltimore Raven Art Jones, is poised to have a big year in terms of pressuring the quarterback. While he didn’t have a lot of sacks last season, more often than not he affected the play and had a lot of tackles. Similarly, Marinovich was tough and made offensive coordinators think twice about running plays towards his side of the field. Shamarko Thomas should improve in the secondary as well, the only real weakness in the Syracuse defense last season.
RB Delone Carter was a big contributor last year racking up over 1,200 yards on the ground and 9 rushing TD. Who steps in to replace him this year?
This year it is up to Antwon Bailey. While Delone Carter was the power back for Syracuse, Bailey set the career mark at Syracuse for receptions by a running back. He can earn yardage on the ground, but he really excelled in play action blocking for QB Ryan Nassib, as well as being a very dependable target for his passes. On top of that, he has a veteran offensive line returning, with only the center needed to be replaced. He should be an effective offensive weapon for Syracuse this coming season.
Who are some under-the-radar guys to keep an eye on this year for Syracuse?
The secret is out on Marcus Sales at WR after his massive breakout bowl appearance, therefore I'll pick WR Jarrod West. He had an excellent spring and should see some playing time during the year. Also WR Dorian Graham is a physical specimen and sees quite a big of special teams action. He could see some time running some speed routes for Syracuse and find success losing slower defenders.
As for Defense, Jay Bromley and Cory Boatman are tasked with filling the shoes of Hogue and Smith. The DT position will most likely be handled by a rotation of 4-5 players but these two won the starting jobs. Look for them to apply pressure to the quarterback or drop into coverage, as Defensive Coordinator Scott Shaffer really mixes up the plays he calls. They will be asked to be the first line of defense and should mostly be up to the challenge.
Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games this year?
#1 has to be Saturday November 5 with Syracuse traveling to Connecticut. Not only has this rivalry been heating up in the last couple years, but now they have the old coach from Syracuse. That is instant drama/rivalry making stuff.
Next would be Friday November 11 with USF coming in for Syracuse’s homecoming, and a late Friday game on national TV. Syracuse beat USF in Florida last season for the first time ever and it will be interesting if Syracuse can make it two in a row.
Finally, Saturday September 17 Syracuse travels out to take on Southern California. While they are not as good as they have been, and they are currently under the watchful eye of the NCAA, this is still a powerful team. This will be a good, tough, and early road test for Syracuse and could show how Syracuse will be once the Big East slate starts.
What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?
I think six wins is very possible again for this Syracuse team. The offense will improve with even more good targets for Ryan Nassib to throw to, he is getting better, the defense will be good again, and they return a veteran offensive line. But a step backwards from last season isn’t out of the question. Less than 5 wins would be a big disappointment, especially compared to what they did last season. But I think this team will do just better and be right around 6 or 7 wins. Not too shabby for a team that was left for dead a few years ago.
Coming In August: Big East Preview
Next Preview: Illinois
2011 Team Previews