These are worth a look to get a glimpse at play calling
As our way of saying Thanks to Syracuse Orange football fans we didn’t subject you to our weekly look at the first down offense last week. However this week we’re going to look at both the Louisville Cardinals and NC State Wolfpack games so that our end of the season recap will make more sense.
Against Louisville the Orange tried a run heavy approach. This is likely a combination of the Cardinals poor defense and JaCobian Morgan making his first road start. In the first half Syracuse ran nine times for 52 yards and only attempted one first-down pass. It’s pretty disappointing that the Orange offense couldn’t capitalize on this success on first downs. As the game got away Syracuse couldn’t generate anything in the passing game and some garbage time runs helped pad the overall stats.
Last weekend the formula flipped as NC State focused on taking out the running game of Sean Tucker so the Orange went to the air. It wasn’t very efficient but with nothing going in the run game it wasn’t a bad approach to take especially when the NC State corners gave Taj Harris a big cushion. The most important note is that for the first time in four games Syracuse gained positive yards on their first offensive play….yes you read that correctly.
In the second half the offense couldn’t make the early down yardage needed to sustain drives. We all know Rex Culpepper’s accuracy issues but it shows that this system needs balance to succeed and moving forward Syracuse needs to get better play in all areas on this side of the ball.
I’m not going to try and convince you that Sterlin Gilbert has had a good year as OC but some of the problems are with the execution of the players. Syracuse has to find more playmakers on offense and develop ways to get them the ball. Moving Taj Harris inside last week was a step in that direction and with Jawhar Jordan back next year the Orange has some intriguing options to fill the Erv Phillips role in the offense. Will Jordan, Trebor Pena and Cooper Lutz offer big play potential from the slot receiver role? Can Dino Babers figure out where to put Luke Benson? It seems as though there are pieces to work with and the coaching staff needs to maximize that potential.