Gulley Gone: Marrone May Be Forced to Burn Ameen-Moore’s Redshirt

With PTG’s injury, will Doug be forced to go to the young battering ram?

Prince-Tyson Gulley is in fact out for the season, and the Orange may be forced to remove the redshirt of Adonis Ameen-Moore. After the bizarre “mistake” by the athletic department last week, Doug Marrone admitted Monday that Syracuse will indeed be without its number two tailback – just as the original game notes stated. Gulley’s absence leaves SU with little depth and zero experience behind Antwon Bailey at running back.

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This may force Marrone to lift the redshirt of freshman Ameen-Moore to provide a little punch out of the backfield. The Orange have been hesitant to go to the freshman so far this season, but Marrone may be forced to take another look. When asked about his running back situation Monday, The Dougie responded:

“We’re going to play those players because if, God forbid, something happens to Antwon, now everything is increased. As coaches, we always want to be ready in developing the players behind him. You don’t want to change your demeanor all of a sudden with an injury. You want to be the same way all the way through, so for us we have to get those players involved in the system and you’ll see all of those players involved in the game plan. Now, whether we call those plays that they’re involved with, but they’ll get snaps at tailback and go.”

The Orange had its best rushing game of the season two weeks ago against Toledo, when Gulley added 70 yards to Bailey’s 118 in a two-back attack. But SU is now going to have to search for another number two back, especially because the starter stands at a mere 5’7, 201 lbs. Bailey has already been carrying a heavier load than the Orange would like, and now Marrone must find a replacement for the next person to take some of the burden off Bailey’s diminutive shoulders.

Redshirt freshman Jerome Smith got the first shot at stepping into the number two role, but came up small against Rutgers, carrying three times for just six yards. Marrone may have no choice but to put Ameen-Moore on the field. Smith has proven nothing, and it would be unfair to expect Bailey to continue a 25-plus carry per game load for the rest of the year without wearing down.

The 5’10, 244 lbs. freshman could turn out to be the perfect complement to Bailey, taking some of the between-the-tackles carries and thus reducing some of the physical grind on the starter. Ameen-Moore came to Syracuse with a reputation as a tough physical runner. His ESPN scouting report opens, “Ameen-Moore is simply a load of a running back. He is built low to the ground with great bulk and thickness.”

It’s easy to see why Marrone would like to keep Ameen-Moore’s redshirt option open and extend his career in Orange by an extra season. But Syracuse needs a number two tailback for the rest of this season and may have to mortgage a bit of the future to get him on the field.

Posted: Steve Neikam

14 Comments on this Post

  1. KevMonstah

    Should’ve done this at the start of the year, not on game six. “Thunder and lightning” means two different types of backs, not two of the same. PTG offers little change from Bailey except a little more quickness, nothing against that, but a bruiser he isn’t.

    I get the redshirting, but if you’re redshirting guys who are more talented than the current players, or offer something that can help the team now, it’s a mistake. Also, don’t waste a kid’s year on special teams only. A school used to use walkons to make up the entire kickoff coverage squad, and I don’t remember them being any worse than average with them. It wasn’t some D-III school either. It makes not much sense to plug Ritchy Desir or Brandon Reddish for example, into kickoff coverages if they will play a limited role for the rest of the year rather than redshirt them. If you’re going to play them, use them.


  2. Dr Bill

    In the long run, even without the injury to PTG, I don’t understand the redshirt on Ameen Moore..if he can play. Why? …Next year, Bailey is gone, why not have a number one and a number 2 that have game experience? Moore would still only be a soph. and Gulley a Jr. and both have game experience…….That to me is planning ahead…….We are not deep enough or good enough on offense to redshirt a talented 240 lb. tailback……..Who do we think we are…USC?

  3. Steve Neikam

    I tend to agree with you guys on most of these points, but I can see why redshirting Ameen-Moore is tempting. If he redshirts this year, then he can potentially have four productive seasons in Orange instead of playing only a limited role this year. However, with Gulley now out, that role wouldn’t be so limited, and I can’t see how you keep a redshirt on a guy that can be your number two tailback. I agree that Ameen-Moore’s power running style could ultimately be a great tandem with Bailey and he would benefit from having some experience going into next season.

    One thing I would disagree with Kev, is I think you are underrating the importance of special teams a bit. If anything, Saturday’s game should have proven just how critical they can be. Also, the secondary is so thin that I don’t think SU can afford to have guys like Reddish and Desir unavailable.

  4. I thought I had heard the problem was with his conditioning. I don’t think the staff wanted to unleash this bull until he was where they wanted him physically. However I do agree. If he can produce, put him on the field. If he helps us win, that will open the recruiting door to more backs like him to have a replacement in line by the time that 5th year would have rolled around.

  5. While Id love to see AAM play, we DO have other options..

    I think he’s going to have to wait til next year at this point. We actually have quite a corp of running backs, albeit some without any time on the field. Bailey and Gulley were easy choices at 1-2, but with Gulley gone, there are still a lot of options. Jerome Smith didn’t immediately light up the field, but that doesn’t mean he wont. I’m sure Marrone put him in because he had the most experience of all the backs after ATrain and PTG. I think its a bit disingenuous to say “PUT IN ADONIS” – hes an overweight true freshman without good blocking ability. And by blocking ability, I mean this

    Besides PTG and ATrain, here’s the breakdown:

    Greg Tobias RB 5-10 169 So. (WALK ON)
    Steve Rene RB 5-7 176 So.
    Travon Burke RB 6-1 253 Fr. (WALK ON)
    Adonis Ameen-Moore RB 5-10 244 Fr.
    Mario Tull RB 6-0 207 So.
    Jerome Smith RB 5-11 213 So.

    So who there actually has experience on the field? That would be these three below. I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw Mario Tull, the converted linebacker getting a few snaps. Hey, if we can turn running backs into linebackers (Hogue/Smith), why not the other way around 😉 And while Steve Rene, the converted WR turned-RB is roughly the same size as ATrain, that obviously hasnt stopped ATrain from starting for a D1 team.

    Mario Tull played in 10 games, primarily on special teams … Against Colgate, recorded two assisted tackles … At South Florida, made one solo tackle … At West Virginia, had two assisted tackles … At Rutgers, registered two tackles.

    Jerome Smith Played in the game against Wake Forest but had no statistics … Against Rhode Island, had the first carry of his career for no gain … At USC, played in the game but had no statistics … Against Toledo, played in the game but had no statistics.

    Steve Rene Sophomore Year (2011): Has played in all four games … Against Rhode Island, returned three punts for 12 yards … Against Toledo, made one solo tackle and returned a punt for five yards. Freshman Year (2010): Played in four games … The first true freshman to return punts for Syracuse since Bruce Williams returned nine punts 87 yards in 2005 … Against Maine, returned three punts six yards

  6. Steve Neikam

    Roger you bring up an interesting point, and I think the coaching staff obviously is trying to explore the other options you mentioned before burning AAM’s redshift. Jerome Smith has been largely unimpressive in his limited role, so he doesn’t seem like an ideal choice to be bumped up to #2 in my eyes. Rene has been decent as a return man, but with him at best you’d have another scat back. Ameen-Moore is the one guy who can bring a power running style to complement Bailey. If its a conditioning problem that’s one thing, but that shouldn’t be too much of an issue since he would still only get a few carries a game as the number two.

  7. KevMonstah

    Steve – My only point related to the special teams and using freshman instead of redshirting them is, you don’t want to see so-and-so’s bio next year read:

    “Played well on special teams”, with no statistics otherwise, for a kid who was in demand. If Chaz Cervino comes in, a one star kid, and does that, ok. I think he did under Grob. We outrecruited UNH to get him. Using guys who had interest from Penn State or Miami the same way is I think a bit silly, especially when the newer guys are upgrading the talent level here. SU is not a program that can redshirt kids who have more potential than the guys already here.

    I used Reddish and Desir as examples, but still: play them if you’ve started the clock on them, and they can contribute. Reddish got burned against USC, everybody does, who cares. He can do the job against the rest of the schedule.


  8. The media must not get updates on players after the August report on their heights and weights. Adonis is now in the low 230’s, and in very good shape.

  9. no reason to take the redshirt of aam

    you always try to redshirt guys that aren’t ready.

    At this point with AAM you just hope if four years he can put together a productive season.

    for two carries a game you lose one of those years?

    -no thanks he hasn’t done anything to show that he is a difference maker.

    let smith back bailey up there is nothign wrong with that.

  10. ChangeIsInTheAir

    I would put my money on Greg Tobias. Contrary to his listed height and weight, the kid is strong, talented, quick and elusive. He could provide Syracuse with the depth they need. As it stands now, all of their backs tend to look the same, and same has gotten us nowhere. Time for a change. Time for Tobias.

  11. Mdb80
    How can someone show you something if they haven’t even stepped on the field?! And Smith has showed you something how?? Wow

  12. I’m not just saying this for the sake of saying something different than anybody else… but I think I’ve got the perfect idea for a new RB for this team: Jeremiah Kobena! Just think about it for a second… he’s extremely fast (I think he wont some track or cross country races back in HS), he’s a pretty decent sized kid (I don’t know his exact measurements but from seeing him in person he seems pretty well built physically), and he seems to be a smart ball carrier. He currently returns kick for us, and, to me, it seems as though he can take one to the house at any moment (I actually predicted after I saw his 1st kick return in the WF game that he would have a kick return TD by season’s end). He may not be that “bruiser” of a back that we all necessarily want, however he still brings a speedy and elusive threat to the back field… kind of reminds me of a taller Steve Slaton. I think we should consider getting this kid some reps!

    As for Jerome Smith, I don’t understand why people are criticizing him already… he has hardly had a legit chance to prove himself yet. I suggest that in the Tulane game, we use Smith for a whole entire series instead of Bailey so we can see what this kid is made of. That way, we can figure out whether he’s a 3rd and short back, or a legit changeup (and somewhat of a power runner) to spell Bailey in their big upcoming games.

    As I’ve said before, I would love to see this Adonis Ameen Moore kid play, but if the Dougie has a reason for redshirting him, then I say that we need to trust him. Until he proves me otherwise, I will continue to be a Marrone advocate because I think he’s made a lot of decisions and done great things with this program in a short period of time with little to nothing to work with. Can’t wait to see what our team is like with a Marrone-recruited QB. Not that Nassib has been terrible, but it will be nice to get a new flavor after next season.

  13. It all begins with HCDM’s recruiting of RB’s. Other than Moore he really has not brought in nothing at all. And next year the same old same old, no quality RBs as of yet. Yet you still make HCDM a god. Depth has killed this program from the day god errr HCDM showed up. Not bad for a guy that made nearly 3 million so far for his lousy efforts. This years verballed class is average at best. Remember its ACC in two years and we can’t beat Rutgirls with “gods”(HCDM) U.T.R., N.R. or 2 star talent. Heaven help us!!!

  14. ChangeIsInTheAir

    Did anyone get a look at the highlight tape of Greg Tobias going around on facebook?

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