Syracuse has plenty of voids to fill after its 5-game collapse to end in the basement of the Big East. But the losses on the defensive side of the ball are most significant, and with just four days until National Siging Day, the Orange has targeted the front 7 as a priority. The numbers are fluid until Wednesday, but SU should have at least a dozen new faces combined at linebacker and defensive line. Plus, the Orange is close to locking down the best player in NYC to help its secondary, in DB Wayne Morgan.
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DE Josh Manley and OLB James Washington could be talented pass rushers, and join a group of primarily young guys who can into the backfield, highlighted by sophomore Dyshawn Davis. SU also continues to play ball with FIU for another pair of LBs in Leroy Owens and Josh Glanton. If the Orange can win even one of them, this year’s class will tie ’10 for the most recruits on defense in six years.
Ryan Nassib returns for his third season as the starter at quarterback. The running game should be solid with Prince Tyson-Gulley and incoming George Morris. But the development of an effective defense is still the unknown.
In the final season as a member of the shaky Big East, a sturdy D should be enough most weeks to keep the Orange in games. The theory that “defense wins championships” still holds true. In an era of offense, look at the vicious units that are produced in the SEC, a conference that has won the last 6 BCS titles.
So why hasn’t the Orange developed a consistently functional unit? Coaching remains a question mark. The loss of man power is another huge factor. A lack of chemistry combined with rampant injuries and failure to execute left the Orange D reeling. Chandler Jones was injured, Mikhail Marinovich ineffective, Phil Thomas suspended, and and now Torrey Ball has graduated.
Doug Marrone’s expertise is in the trenches, and SU has attempted to bring in some major size for the defensive line the last two recruiting classes. There’s no shiny new quarterback coming in this year – Ashton Broyld is the only signal caller for ’12. But a herd of promising linemen is certainly not coal in the stocking. Games are won and lost up front, and SU is hoping to win some of those by virtue of its recruiting class.
Posted: Jake Moskowitz