Syracuse Football Prepares For Its Final Run At A Big East Title
As camp opened up in upstate New York this past week, the Syracuse football team continued to prepare for their last go-around as a member of the Big East Conference, after over 20 years of competing in the league.
If the past few years have proven anything, it’s that the Big East can be anyone’s league in any given year and the Orange are hoping that this year can be theirs and that they can go out in style. The fact that they have one of toughest (if not THE toughest) non-conference schedules in the nation does not affect their chances to capture one last Big East football crown. However this does not mean that winning the Big East will be an easy task, especially considering that this is a program that has won a total of six league games over the past three years under head coach Doug Marrone.
This team has unperformed under Marrone, aside from the unexpected yearly blow-out of a ranked opponent, and has always lacked a true big-time playmaker on the offensive side of the ball (oh how we miss you ‘Money’ Mike Williams). Fans are hoping all that changes this year with the offense being led by redshirt senior and third year starter, Ryan Nassib, under center.
Although the two biggest offensive weapons from last year’s squad (running back Antwan Bailey and tight end Nick Provo) have graduated, there are high hopes among Syracuse fans for the likes of Alec Lemon, Marcus Sales and Ashton Broyld heading into the 2012 campaign. These three along with backs Jerome Smith and Prince Tyson-Gully will be counted on to help Nassib move the ball down the field and get some points on the board for the Orange.
The defense will be led by linebacker Marquis Spruill and safety Shamarko Thomas, but many questions remain on the defensive line after first rounder Chandler Jones’ early entry into the NFL Draft this past April and the unexpected absence of starting nosetackle Corey Boatman at the start of camp. Once again this team will rely heavily on young and inexperienced players to get them through their grueling schedule.
The early non-conference slate will hopefully prepare Syracuse to play the top competition in their league and propel them towards a strong showing in the last installment of their storied Big East legacy. Despite being picked to finish sixth or seventh in most pre season polls, there is always hope for a successful season from the Orange and as a Syracuse University senior I can only hope that the local fans will pack the Carrier Dome each and every home game in order to give us the best home field advantage in the Big East (at least for one more season).
Keep an eye out for my preseason predictions in the next week or so.
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