3 Keys to Syracuse Football Reaching Shafer’s Goal of a Winning Season

How can the Orange get to above .500 in its first season in the ACC?

Expectations for Syracuse football have been slowly climbing since the end of the Groobers Error, and Scott Shafer believes a winning season would be cause for celebration in a new power conference. SU is no stranger to exceeding expectations. When Ryan Nassib entered his senior season, there were grumblings whether he could adapt to pocket pressure well enough. He responded by leading the Orange to yet another Pinstripe Bowl victory. He matured from a skittish QB under duress to a player voted by Pro Football Weekly as a First-team All American.

With a new coach, and questions surrounding the QB position, Orange Nation wonders if SU will be contending for a bowl or have a rough season against more formidable competition. So what can SU do to reach Shafer’s goal of an above-.500 season? Here’s three keys:

  • Ready, Set, Go! 

A fast start is big. SU begins the season in the Meadowlands against a Penn State team still on postseason probation and picking up the scandal pieces. Penn State is rebuilding, and has questions with Tyler Ferguson under center. Could SU steal this game? It’ll be rough. The Nittany Lions went 8-4, (6-2 in the B1G) and Bill O’Brien steadied a ship that was taking on water last offseason. It’ll be a tough task. A trip to Northwestern is also difficult, the Wildcats were 10-3 last year. But the Orange have winnable games in the Dome against Wagner and Tulane.

  • Shake and Intimidate

Shafer hopes Orange Nation shows up in bigger numbers at the Dome this season. Attendance had been lackluster under Doug Marrone, but the team pours its effort into every single practice and game. The Orange have two separate jersey retirements this season which should boost attendance up for those two games. It’s a good ACC slate inside the Dome: Clemson, Wake, and old foes Pitt, B.C. The final two contests against classic rivals with a postseason berth on the line means there’s enough reason for the Dome to be rocking for most home games.

  • Expect the Expected

The Orange struggled last season sewing up games it expected to win like Northwestern at home, and at Minnesota. SU has tough games against FSU, Clemson and Penn State. SU must win the ones its supposed to. If the Orange can beat Wagner, Tulane and Wake at home, then beat a Maryland team on the road that was only 4-8 last year (2-6 in the ACC), SU already has four wins. With home games against Pitt and BC to wrap up the season, the quarterback situation should be settled by then, and that could put the Orange at 6 wins. If it steals another one somewhere, that gets to the 7 win plateau. If not, a bowl game could net this program its 7th win.

To begin the year SU is going to rely on the defense to set the tone of the games. There are going to be growing pains at QB. It’s not impossible to reach Shafer’s goal of a winning season. Now it’s up to the Orange to make it happen.

Posted: Zephan Mayell

23 Comments on this Post

  1. Russell MacEachern

    I guess on the home schedule Pitt,WF and MAYBE BC are the only question mark games!On the road we should be able to handle REs boring Md team as their QBs are young and untested…hopefully there very young talent takes time to develop!PSU is beatable for now and FSU and Clemson should be the only games no will expect us to win!I’ll guess 7-5 and a decent bowl if DA/Hunt can diversify our O!Im not worried about out D,im excited to see if we can come out in the ACC with a BANG!”btw I dont think VT or UMiami are as good as we remembered and BC will take time under Addazio to get it together!”Go Orange”

  2. @Russell MacEachern;

    The scandal about Juli Hermann is growing larger and larger by the hour Russell. People are starting to say the President of the University should be fired also.

    Getting to be a huge mess. Do you think that she’s going to go or stay at Rutgers?

    If that’s all that is out there to pick a new AD from, I guess we might want to rethink Dr. Gross’s future here at Syracuse University. Gez Russell I hope all AD’s are not like her. WOW!!!!!!!

  3. @Russell macEachern;

    Political personnel with in the state are saying that they believe President Robert Barchi should be fired. Is that due to him firing basketball coach Mike Rice and forcing the resignations of athletic director Tim Pernetti, assistant coach Jimmy Martelli and interim senior vice president and university counsel John Wolf?

    Getting messy Russell!!!!!!

  4. Terry

    Who in the hell cares about Rutgirls!! They didn’t give a hoot when the Fine thing was out there!! 6-6 is the best SUFB will do in my mind. I don’t know what the wins/loses are, but I will be very satisfied with 6-6. QB and OL on the “O” side of the ball are concerns. On “D” its the DE/DBs that are the weakest. RBs are solid and LB seem OK too!! WRs hopefully with the quick FR coming in will help. Without them(Fr WR) I think the WRs would be put with the QB/OL. But one question that seems not to be asked and is obvious and that is effective coaching. Most of us are extremely high on HCSS and his staff, but they have no resume so far on their SU job!! We shall see.

  5. Where’s the love Terry,where’s the love?

    I know that some might not think the problems Rutger’s is facing could possibly be a positive for Syracuse.

    I thought about the possibility of having some of the recruits changing their minds about attending Rutgers and coming to Syracuse to play football in 2014.

    I’ve always heard that recruiters use the snow/cold as a reason not to attend Syracuse and I thought maybe just maybe we could use this against them for as long as Juli is the AD.

    In the end Terry,I’m hoping this turns into a big positive for Syracuse University.

  6. Russell MacEachern

    Terrys always a hater about anything NJ Ron,notice when he mentions downstate he says NYC/LI?Never what it is NY/NJ demo of which LI is included!lol..Hey were all SU fans but growing up in Jersey I take an interest in State U!…Ron,who knows if she’ll keep the job?Didnt u read my responce ib the previous FB thread?I said I thought TP was born 4 the job but because he’s gone I didnt like the “PC” hire I thought Fiore or Frazier would be best suited 4 the AD…Dr Barchi is only there for the UNJMD medical school reaqisition/merger and he’s over his his head as a President of a large State U!!He has no cojones [email protected],just kidding ya kid!lol

  7. Russell MacEachern

    @Terry,I actually took measures to help Tim keep his job…my cousin is friends with his wife!Everything isnt always black and white sometimes theres gray shades in the middle!lol..hell Ron knows my feelings better than anyone!!

  8. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,for some reason RU attracts a different type of kid or at least thats the spiel out NB?Even when Shady left we couldnt (or anyone else)take advantage?Terrys right,something stinks about the downstate area and even Im not sure what happened?Remember exHCDM didnt even offer 4* Laviano from LI?We like UConn only seem to get the ones that RU dont want or offer?Why?I wish some media guys would do a story on it!Certainly were a better school and they used to come here!Im trying to find out whats up?Our NATIONAL BRAND is better BUT Im not sure it is in that NYC/NJ/EPa area!?!While we played USC at Metlife in front of 39G they were in front of 50G plus at High Points stadium playing Howard U?Really?Something smells!

  9. Russell MacEachern

    Another thing that bothered me was when we played at RU last year OUR GUEST recruits were celebrating in the RU locker room with them after the game and I STILL think Dougie decided to leave that day!I can still see him on tv mouthing “every effin year” after the blocked FGA,he was distressed!!JMO guys?who really knows?

  10. Russell MacEachern

    @Ron,u know me I speak my mind…I hope u did’nt stir up a sh*t storm for me Haha!!I know how most of our fans respond to “said topic”!Peppers shocked the world and chose Michigan,..shocking?really!What a clown but thats what I expected!these kids are pampered today!

  11. @Russell MacEachern;

    I think the Rutgers story is interesting Russell. If asking questions about the problems that they’re experiencing upsets people. Well it’s just to damn bad.

    If people got upset because of something a coach said and then having him quotedin the NYT about a black athlete on another thread. Those people really don’t want to know how Ireally feel about either subject Russell.

    Russ,I really didn’t mean to bring any of this onto you. If you get any flack from our so called Fizz Family members,please tell all for me to kiss Rons backside and they ought to grow up and become a member of the real world.

    I believe that Rutgers is in trouble. Lets see if the new AD and current president of the university lose their jobs.

    I honestly felt Russell that the Rutgers story was more appealing than talking about what a coach said and was quoted by some liberal reporter and printing it in the paper and was discussed by us over the weekend.

  12. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,its really funny?17 years ago?Hell lock me up,I was in the Westies for 6 years..did she kill someone,rape a child,commit treason?Espin is SOoo pissed at losing the NYC market to the B1G they’ll find out its gonna backlash on them!And the Star Ledger is a rag who should support State U and emphasize all the good things like top APRs for athletes and rallying around Eric LeGrande heroics fight!Like I said the politicians have been using RU as a feeding trough for too long now and Christie better show some cojones or risk blowback cause the rats are being driven out of their holes and will be exterminated! HaHa!Who said RU isn’t relevant?lol,the Ledger and the WWLeader look vindictive and jealous since Delany came a shopping!

  13. @Russell MacEachern;

    I know Russ that you supported the former AD. You told us all that he was the man for the job. It’s to bad that Barchi failed to support him. It’s twice as bad that he hired a woman with so much baggage. Fired her assistant coach for getting pregnant.

    But you know political correctness tells us that we can’t be critical of a woman any woman in todays society.

    I put her in the same light as Obama. We sure as hell didn’t vet him either and look at where it’s gotten us.

  14. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,I would hire Tim Pernetti as President of RU and get rid of that nerdy/clown Dr Barchi/Boring and really piss RUs enemies off!!Ive grown MORE PROTECTIVE since these silly attacks for this ridiculous crap!Clean out the whole nest for getting rid of loyal TP..BOTs and BOGs and hire Woody Hayes!LOL

  15. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,I dont think this board really want us to REALLY speak our minds…they couldnt handle it!Im starting to get Po’d with some of these Stephen A Smith Clowns talking heads!Hire Ron and I lol!!

  16. @Zephan Mayell;

    I thinkyour way off target with Syracuses overall record this year. I feelthat the lowest amout of wins is going to be 8 and the overall at the end of the bowl season will be 9-4.

    Get with the program for Gods sake,won’t you?

  17. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,Tim took a cut in salary of 200k to help his almer mater and might have done it for free because he loved his school and that pissed me off!He was beloved by the whole RU community and they (Barchi,Sweeney,Chritie)dumped him out of fear for their own selfish agendas!I’ll tell you tho Delany knows whats going on and hes laughing cause he knows when RU wins in the B1G”and they will” they captivate the media like no other love em or hate em!When RU was D11 I followed them as my “small school” but SU was always my main BIG team…in Jersey we have a lot of mixed loyalties growing up in such a densely populated and many schooled area in the shadows of Twin Towers and Empire State Blgd!UConn was’nt one of them tho!LOL..Now I feel for UConn,Ron,it could be us?I hate gloaters and u no what I mean..last thing Id do to people!

  18. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,thats my prediction 7-5 and a bowl win for 8 wins!Only cause QB is a question mark right now..an unknown quality!I hope my laptop dont blow up Ron!

  19. Russell MacEachern

    I HATE Politics!!!Lets just play football!Kickoff!!

  20. @Russell MacEachern;

    I’m done ranting for awhile here Russell. Bur I hate it when good people get shit on and discarded like garbage because of political correctness.

    If any of this comes back on you I apologize because I didn’t mean for that to happen.

    double standards are in play here when you fire a man and then hire a woman for doing the same thing.

  21. Russell MacEachern

    Yeah Ron,,,time to eat!!See ya later!lol

  22. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,on Ask the Gov,Christie said Im OK with RU..”Let RU handle Rutgers” its over as far as outside interference Christie called it character assasination at its worse…so let espn and the star-ledger writer Steve Politi crawl back into their holes!!

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