The Fizz 5: How Syracuse Picks Up The Pieces After Grisly Loss to Rutgers

Here’s the Fizz’s weekly report of the five most important things to take away from Saturday.

Syracuse’s overtime loss to Rutgers was painful. Crazy Eyes Schiano running around everywhere. Fizz t-shirt icon Doug Marrone in disbelief as his team melted in front of him. And a special teams disaster as three kicks are the victims of poor blocking. Believe it or not there is good, but clearly there is plenty of bad, in this week’s Fizz 5. We start with the obvious:

  • Nassib has taken a step back.

As I tweeted late in the game: “Ryan Nassib is more lost than a Hawaiian in Siberia.” That’s just the start of the Orange’s offensive issues. Nassib looked to have turned the corner in the Pinstripe Bowl and followed it up with a great spring and solid start to the season. However. against USC he was ineffective at best. Last week against Toledo he was mediocre and this week the passing game was flat out bad. What had made him so good, despite his lack of big plays, was his ability to avoid turnovers. Against RU: Three to the wrong team, including one on the final drive and one in the red zone. No team is going to win like that. Ever. Just can’t do it.

  • SU wants to redshirt Adonis. Whether you like it or not.

We should give this another week, but it’s quite obvious that SU may need another back and Jerome Smith is not the answer. He’s had two carries in big spots this year where he’s needed to get a yard. And unfortunately the “power back” couldn’t get it done. There are many frustrating elements of this. While Antwon Bailey has been spotty, he’s been at his best inside the red zone. On 3rd & 1, after he’s gained the first 9 yards, why bring in Smith? Secondly, we all want Adonis Ameen-Moore. Scouting reports from practice say Ameen-Moore has been better than Smith. If Prince-Tyson Gulley is indeed out, the Orange should inject some Adonis DNA into its offense, or it’ll be trending like Charlie Scheen’s acting career: downhill.

  • The Orange is outthinking itself on offense.

Some of Nathaniel Hackett’s personnel groupings have left us scratching our head. Why is SU throwing screen passes to tight end David Stevens and the big-bodied Jarrod West, while the smaller Dorian Graham is left blocking?

Syracuse had a First & Goal, after a completion on a slant to Alec Lemon (who is SU’s best underneath receiver) and a 6-yard run by Bailey. The Orange then runs a quick slant to Kyle Foster? That would be the freshman with as many catches this year as you. Nothing against Foster, in fact I think he’ll be a good receiver. But when you have Lemon or West, possession receivers who can catch the ball in traffic and have made clutch catches this year, throw to them. That’s if you decide to throw at all from the one, when your running back has a nose for the end zone.

  • The defense continues to improve.

Syracuse’s defense played a very good game Saturday. Yes, the Scarlet Knights put up nearly 300 yards in the air, but it took them 57 attempts to do it and they ran for a net of 5 yards. Five.

The SU offense also put its defense in bad spots after turnovers. Rutgers’ TD drive started at its own 41. The field goal drive before it? The RU 48. SU can’t expect its defense to defend short fields and not give up any points. Missed field goals and good D kept Syracuse ahead for most of the game. If the offense hadn’t shot itself in the foot or the special teams had blocked properly on one of three field goal attempts, Crazy Eyes’s crew wouldn’t have stolen a victory.

The secondary had its best game of the season. The TD to Sanu was a good play by Nova against a bad zone blitz call, where Deon Goggins was supposed to drop back and cover Sanu’s area from his DT spot (that seems like a stretch). Mikhail Marinovich was in the backfield all day and became a major factor for the first time all year.

  • Dyshawn is nasty good, and not even close to his potential.

When The Fizz talked to Marquis Spruill a couple of weeks ago, he told us Dyshawn Davis was still making too many mental mistakes but that he was impressed with the freshman. Against Rutgers, he showed what happens when he doesn’t make those mistakes. While he missed a couple of tackles, Davis also registered 6 takedowns (5 solo), 2 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss. His highlight reel explosion in the backfield also created SU’s first touchdown. Talk about an impact player and he’s only five games into his career. Giggity.

This game was the ultimate karmic kick in the ass after last week’s controversial win over Toledo. SU basically stole a game thanks to a gift PAT call, then the kicking game cost itself major points Saturday. As we head to New Orleans for Tulane this weekend, may I recommend a cafe au leit from Cafe Du Monde as the shot of caffeine this team needs. Get a Beignets too. Unlike giving the ball to Jerome Smith in short yaradage, you won’t regret it.

Posted: Craig Hoffman

Photo credit: AP

12 Comments on this Post

  1. OrangeCrush22

    I’m just still in disbelief.

  2. KevMonstah

    A zone blitz, inside the ten, on 3rd-and-goal, which drops Deon Goggins into coverage? Correct me if I’m wrong, but he’s sorta been SU’s best overall lineman this year so far, right? Why would you do that? Rush your best pass rushers, or heck just rush everyone, and cover with your best cover guys, but do not cover with your best rushers, and rush your best coverage guys. Especially right there. You expect a DT who remain in coverage against a top WR? That doesn’t work.


  3. Why didn’t they redshirt Jerome Smith instead of Adonis Ameen Moore? So far, Smith hasn’t been able to get the job done in short yardage situations. What happened to Prince Tyson Gulley? Is he injured or what? I still think Nassib is good by the way. That INT in the end zone, was I the only one who thought there was some defensive pass interference on that play? And tipped pass INT’s are generally not the fault of the QB. It’s kind of like Eli Manning last year, almost all his INT’s were off tipped passes.

  4. Kevin,
    Smith was injured all of last year. That was his redshirt year, that is, if the coaches decide to offer him a fifth year. So far, he hasn’t deserved it.

  5. Dr Bill

    . He was our highest rated player last year…we are down to Bailey and Smith(?)..are you kidding me. Play Moore now…lets see what he has…play him the entire year as a change up to Bailey. Bailey will be gone next year and Moore and Gulley would be ready as our one -two punch..sounds good….Now …JUST Do It

  6. Kev – glad I’m not the only one confused by that

    Kevin – PTG is out after having surgery on a broken collar bone. Marrone let that out post-game (after it snuck out last week). Also using Eli Manning in an interception argument is never going to help your case…just sayin.

    Doc Bill – I hear ya man. No idea why Moore isn’t playing.

  7. why isn’t moore playing there are between 25-30 reasons and they are all pounds.

    Kid came in way out of shape and has struggled.

    curious about the ‘road’ nassib is on da.

    so you thought he had ‘turned the corner’ in the pinstripe bowl….but now he’s taken a step back? so did he step back around the corner meaning he has to go around the corner once again or are you just in love with adj?

    people make too many comments in blogs that are only there to draw attention to themselves.

    what is a ‘step back’. I mean is he less talented then he was last friday or did he just have a bad game? is saturday a permanent thing? Just like you to clarify instead of making a bland comment.

    Also you have a typo in the nassib part “against USC he was ineffective at best.”, nassib was very effective against a much more talented team on the road in USC. In fact had he played near that level saturday it would’ve been a two touchdown win.

  8. mdb –

    Are you at practice man? If so, give us the inside scoop! Everyone I’ve talked to who’s been at practice, not to mention what I’ve seen with my own eyes say Ameen-Moore is the better back than Smith.

    Nassib looked to be ready to command an explosive offense this spring (of course coming off the huge bowl game) and he’s proven he really hasn’t changed that much since last year when he started on fire and then tailed off. Against USC he started hot, but couldn’t get the ball in the endzone until the game was out of hand.

    I put a lot of Nassib’s struggles on Hackett/the offense. Nassib is best when the tempo is up (see his success, outside of the INT against Rutgers, in the 2 minute) and the Orange offense runs at a generally morbid place. Its on the coaches to put the players in a position to succeed and I don’t think they’ve maximized that. That being said, players have to play and Nassib hasn’t been up to expectations. It’s not a typo. It’s an opinion. Feel free to disagree.

    Thanks as always for reading and the feedback. Hope that clarified what I was saying.

  9. OrangeCrush22

    Let’s look at the brightside. They have a weak Tulane team followed by a bye week. This should give most players some time to heal and get healthy(ex: Chand Jones) in time for WV, UCONN, L’ville and USF, before hittin the 2nd bye week.

  10. hoffman you are so right

    -EVERYONE says aam is the better back…thats why he hasn’t played and smith has. Do you think marrone/hackett are secretly trying to sabotage the season? I mean playing the guy that isn’t as good would be doing just that right? I mean it takes guts for marrone/wheatley to play smith and then tell you that aam is the better back.

    -explosive offense…you must’ve been watching someone else this spring because they didn’t do anything thing in the spring to show the offense would be explosive. On top of that you take away gulley and the best all around wr sales…now provo banged up….your expectations are just crazy. the expectations were for a functional offense and to this point has been hit and miss.

    -its amazing how people who have never coached or played know so much about the team when the guys who are at practice everyday and watch all the video don’t know anything or even how to get the players in the right position but you can watch for 3 hours on saturday and have it all figured out, pretty amazing.

    love cuse fans. EVERYONE but the coach knows the answer and they always know more then the coach.

    I do agree I am not sure why Hackett doesn’t just call more touchdown plays. Instead he runs the ball up the middle. He should be throwing the ball deep to…oh wait there isn’t anyone that can get consistently open deep and nassib throws a very average deep ball…..but everyone knows more then the coaches.

  11. mdb –

    -keeping a guy for a redshirt is a factor. but AAM is better. With Gulley out, he’s needed. With Gulley there, he wasn’t. I think you give it a shot,

    -Sales is an underrated thing no one is talking about (see today’s post), but Nassib isn’t throwing to garbage. Every play can’t be short to intermediate. Defense is too compact.

    -You’re totally allowed to disagree with me. But I just think some of with the personnel groupings SU is putting out there can be better.

    -Van Chew is open deep often. He’s very capable. Problem is the protection often isn’t good enough to let Nassib get it there, but there are also times he never looks. Sometimes by design, sometimes he just simply misses him. He’s capable. Nassib does have an average deep ball though. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. Going deep is high risk/high reward. Nature of the beast.

    We’ll agree to disagree. You’ve got a lot of strong opinions that are based in solid logic. Just not in line with a lot of mine. Nothing wrong with that.

  12. Fizz We need more football recruiting articles. DC2 is on the list but we need a lot more for ogee.

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