The Syracuse Orange 2013 College Football Preview
2012 Record: 8-5; ACC 5-2
Introduction: The Syracuse Orange finished 8-5 overall and 5-2 in the Big East last year. Syracuse won 4 games in 2009, 8 games in 2010, 5 games in 2011, and 8 games last year with a big win over West Virginia in their bowl game. Head coach Scott Shafer will enter his first season. Shafer was promoted from within the staff after Doug Marrone left to assume the same position with the Buffalo Bills. Shafer will have his hands full with a fairly inexperienced team as the Orange return only 11 starters in a new, more competitive ACC.
Offense: Syracuse will most likely start sophomore QB Terrel Hunt at the beginning of the year. However, senior QB Charley Loeb and Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen will be waiting anxiously to get their opportunity this season. Either way, Syracuse will rely on one of the best backfields in the ACC. The Orange bring back both of last season’s leaders, seniors Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley, who will have high expectations despite the changes at quarterback and along the offensive line. Junior LT Sean Hickey will move over from right to left tackle to replace all-conference pick Justin Pugh. Sophomore Rob Trudo will move from right to left guard, replacing Zack Chibane. Senior C Macky MacPherson is the third returning starter, who has gained some weight in the offseason to make him less of a physical liability against bigger interior linemen. Syracuse does not have an impressive receiving unit heading into the season. The Orange will need a breakthrough year from senior WR Jarrod West and junior WR Jeremiah Kobena. Senior TE Beckett Wales will have to continue his production having caught 35 balls for 389 yards in 2012.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
Defense: There are significant losses for Syracuse to deal with on defense, most centered along the defensive line and in the secondary. The Orange will be solid at linebacker, especially if junior LB Dyshawn Davis develops into a star on the weak side. Davis is joined at linebacker by another all-conference candidate in senior Marquis Spruill, giving the Orange some really nice talent on the second level. Senior DT Jay Bromley is the lone returning starter on a reworked defensive line. Juniors Micah Robinson and Robert Welsh will start at the end positions while junior Eric Crume will join Bromley inside. The secondary will need to develop fast with several strong passing teams on Syracuse’s schedule. Senior CB Ri’Shard Anderson is the only returning starter from last year’s secondary unit, but there are plenty of seniors that have been waiting for their opportunity over the past couple years.
Special Teams: Syracuse continues to struggle in the kicking game and it may not get any better with juniors Ross Krautman and Jonathan Fisher this year. However, the Orange should have a great return game with junior WR Jeremiah Kobena leading the way.
Final Analysis: Syracuse will have to figure out their quarterback situation before I can believe in their overall offense this season. The running game should be solid behind a decent offensive line, but the Orange may be one-dimensional if the quarterback situation isn’t solved. The defense could be a problem as well, as the defensive line has only one returning starter in Bromley. Syracuse should be able to grow into a better team as the season moves on but I don’t see them winning more than 5 games this season.