There are plenty of Central New Yorkers who wish Saturday’s showdown with USC was in the Carrier Dome, and many are downright pissed off at the SU Athletic Department that it’s not.
But this is bigger than one game.
You can’t always have it both ways. You can’t expect Doug Marrone to build from the ground up while playing every home game on a Saturday at noon in the Dome. This program needs the exposure, the revenue, and the energy that come with a duel against the Trojans in an NFL venue.
The debate in the months leading up to this matchup has focused primarily on the contrast of the blue collar Syracuse community with Daryl Gross’ Hollywood attitude. His critics say Gross has abandoned the core of SU’s fanbase to play Friday night home games and travel to New Jersey to play the #2 team in the nation.
You have to remember USC would never have agreed to a game in CNY. NYC is also filled with Syracuse alumni, and those without the opportunity to travel back to SU will enjoy a rare opportunity to watch their school play on the largest of stages.
But let’s think about two more groups of people: Current and future players.
The downstate members of the SU roster who came in to help the Orange become “New York’s College Team” are ecstatic to play close to home in front of family and friends. Right guard Ivan Foy, a Brooklyn native, says this is huge for the local kids getting to play in the Meadowlands.
“We have to because our families are going to be there. Even though for home games our families are there, on Saturday more families are going to be there because it’s that much closer.”
Cornerback Brandon Reddish, who attended Fort Hamilton high school with Foy, feels the same way as his high school teammate. He’ll have overwhelming adrenaline on Saturday.
“It’s going to be out of control. I’ll just be happy knowing that I’m in front of my family and friends, playing against the #2 team in the country.”
Many Syracuse recruiting targets and commits are also eagerly awaiting SU’s clash with USC. Assistant Head Coach John Anselmo, the program’s main downstate recruiter, has used the game as a recruiting tool.
“I think it’s very important. Because when we recruited [downstate players], we recruited them telling them, ‘Hey, we’re going to be playing at MetLife Stadium, we’re going to play Southern Cal, we got Penn State, we have Notre Dame.’ Young players in the city, on Long Island, they want to play great competition. You tell them you’re playing in a pro venue, the type of teams you’re going to be playing against, it only helps you in the recruiting process.”
Reddish is cognizant that the recruits will be observing Saturday’s game closely.
“Win, lose, or draw, we’re going to show the recruits that we gave our all. If they really feel like that they can play in this system, then they should come here, because we’re not going to quit no matter what.”
Anselmo, who sports a thick Long Island accent, was born in Freeport, NY, and is a former longtime coach at Nassau Community College. He’s been recruiting New York athletes for more than 30 years, and he says SU’s recruiting objective is clear.
“We want to keep the best players in New York State in state, and have them come to Syracuse.”
And the best class of 2013 players in New York State will spend Saturday seated in the stands at MetLife Stadium.
While it’s understandable Syracuse residents would love to see this game at the Dome, that’s just not realistic for this program right now. Hopefully because of more games like this at the Meadowlands, it raises SU football to a place where Saturdays at the Dome are special again.
Tune into Fizz Radio Saturday morning at 9:00 am on The Score 1260 to hear our full conversation with Anselmo, and interviews with the top Orange recruits in attendance at MetLife Stadium.
Odds and Ends
- When asked exactly how many recruits and commits will attend Saturday’s game, Anselmo couldn’t give an exact number, but said “everyone” will be there.
- Between 2013 and 2038, Syracuse is scheduled to play at MetLife Stadium 13 additional times, including the upcoming matchups with Penn State and Notre Dame that Anselmo mentioned.
- Anselmo is listed on SUAthletics.com as the Assistant Head Coach and Linebackers Coach. The site says that he was the SU Secondary Coach from 2009-2010. When asked about his role in comparison to the other listed LB Coach, Steve Morrison, Anselmo told The Fizz that he is not actually the Linebackers Coach. In addition to acting as Assistant Head Coach, he helps out with the special teams, and still assists in the secondary. But not with the linebackers like SU Athletics says.
- That wasn’t our only bizarre finding on SUAthletics.com in recent days. According to the site, Marquis Spruill’s height has gone down one inch each of the last two seasons. He was listed at 6-2 as a freshman, 6-1 as a sophomore, and now 6-0 as a junior. Former Syracuse punter Rob Long reacted to the discovery on Twitter, saying, “I’d bet more money than I have that he is taller than 6 foot.”
Posted: Andrew Kanell