Long Distance Romeing: Jerome Smith is the Key to Productive Syracuse Attack

If the SU tailback is successful and gets his touches, the Orange could be back in the postseason.

Orange Nation enjoyed watching tailback Jerome Smith last year. The bruising runner led Syracuse with 1,171 yards on just 227 carries and three touchdowns. He did it by running angrier than most Big East running backs. How will he bring that aggression and grit to the ACC? It’s pretty simple: by staying as humble and even-keel off the field during the off-season. He is the key for Syracuse’s offensive success in the first year post-Big East. 

The junior was just named a Maxwell Award finalist yesterday. It’s given out to the nation’s most outstanding college player (usually offensive), and Rome was honored as one of 75 players from around the country, and 1/8th of the ACC nominees. Just being on the list is no reason for celebration for Smith because “the hay is never in the barn.” The expression has become the RB’s motto during the off-season. The Delaware native has been relentlessly improving his game, and gearing up for the season. Jerome won’t be fully satisfied until the results on the field show.

That will happen when Smith steps on the Metlife Stadium turf on August 31st. The RB will be the primary runner in new offensive coordinator George McDonald’s offense scheme. With a difficult ACC schedule, the first four games of the year could be the most critical for a bowl. Penn State and Northwestern are good programs, but not unbeatable. And with FCS Wagner and low-level Tulane to follow, there’s no reason the Orange shouldn’t set its goal of being 4-0 for the first time since 1991.

Last season Smith only carried the ball 63 times through the first five games of the season (that’s barely 13 touches a game). He averaged under 60 yards per during SU’s 2-3 start. But the final 8 games, Smith increased his carries to over 20 per game, and averaged over 110 yards in those contests. Give him more carries earlier this season and good things will happen. He’s certainly worked his way into that position. Not too many people would have predicted his breakout 2012 season after his sophomore year. But the tailback looks much quicker at the line of scrimmage and has increased his agility. The one element of his game he needed to improve on was his ability to get to the outside. And maybe those types of runs are going to be saved for the slasher-back Prince Tyson-Gulley, but if Smith can successfully get to the edge, there’s no telling how far he can go.

Last season, he told The Fizz he plays with endless aggression. Not much will change in the ACC.

“It’s an angry game, you got to be mad to play this game. My goal right now is to make people pay. If you’re going to stop me from getting touchdowns, I’m going to make you pay.”

When will “Romeing” return this fall? Perhaps it could start sooner. Few would say the ACC will be easier than the Big East, but there were more Big East teams (6) ranked in the top 50 of total rush defense than the ACC (5). And Syracuse’s new conference is known as an offensive juggernaut (6 teams from the ACC were ranked in the top 50 in total offense compared to just 3 from the Big East).

Surround yourself with better competition and better things can happen. With a question mark still remaining at the quarterback position for the Orange, RB Jerome Smith is the spark that can jolt SU back into the postseason. 

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

31 Comments on this Post

  1. Jerome is a great kid. I met him for the first time last semister,when he came into the store one night.

    I just want to wish him all the luck in the world this fall and hope he runs over and through all of those ACC defenses, especially Clemsons.

    Good luck Jerome,have a great 2000 yard 2013 season.

  2. Russell MacEachern

    Theres nothing tailback about JS,he’s pure bullback like a runaway train!Most when they see him coming don’t want nothing to do with him!”Duane Thomas?”

  3. Frank

    Good story. Let’s hope Mr. smith is not allergic to the end zone as last year!

  4. If Jerome Smith stays healthy over the first 4 games and leads Syracuse to a 4-0 record and heading into a bye week. After having a weeks rest,comes back and playes against Clemson in the dome,is when were going to see the Syracuse running game at it’s best. Could we(POSSIBILITY) be 5-0 at this point in the schedule?

    Sometimes my optimism gets the best of me.

    Go Cuse;

  5. Russell MacEachern

    Ron,last year it was George Morris!Can you imagine these two guys running roughshod on Clampson?FSU?”U”?!!ACC got no D like RU,”Ville”,UConn and us!!Pitt’s can be punishing too?How’s BC or WF or Duke gonna stop us?MD?No way!!7-5 before a bowl in 1st year!!Their gonna see just how over rated they r!!

  6. Russell MacEachern

    Got dang it Ron,you got me fired up now!!!

  7. Russell MacEachern

    Wheres my cleats and helmet?

  8. @Russell MacEachern;

    Your dream of seeing both Jerome Smith and George Morris III in the same backfield is definitely happening in 2013. Take it to the bank,my friend. Jerome is going to bring the muscle,pounding the opposing linebackers and George is going to bring the fire and speed that is going to burn them after Jerome gets done with them..

    I’m just saying Russell,everyone of those damn fool hearted ESPN pundits have overlooked the capabilities of this team.

    Watch out ACC,here we(Syracuse)comes.

  9. @Russell MacEachern;

    I’m basing my statements on 2 games played last year Russ. Remember now,we were suppose to get annihilated by Louisville in the dome last year. No one gave us a shot in that game,no-one. I was so frigging happy watching that game,live that I almost passed out and ended with tears in my eyes.

    What about the year ending game against those WVU Mountaineers in the Pinstripe Bowl down in the Bronx? I forgot,what was the outcome of the game? What you say? Syracuse put on a complete game(on TV)in front of a national audience. The mighty Mountaineers didn’t know what in hell had just hit them. They finally figured it out it wasn’t a freak storm,it was the Syracuse Orangemen that pounded them into submission.

    Oh!!! One more thing Russ,the last time I watched a live Syracuse vs Clemson game,we were the underdogs in that game and didn’t have a chance against the mighty Tigers. Well the outcome of the game was 41-0 Syracuse.

  10. The season is getting closer Russell and I’m getting just getting a little bit antsy.

  11. @Russell MacEachern;

    I forgot to add. Syracuses performance in the Pinstripe Bowl against WVU wasn’t to bad,considering the fact that they play their games inside a dome.

    Was it?

  12. Russell MacEachern

    Wasn’t it the L’ville game that turned our season around last yr?Mizzou was good too!LasT second win!!Key will be QB and OL!

  13. @Russell MacEachern;

    Man oh man;how did I ever overlook the Mizzou game? Correct-o-mundo Russell. Thanks for the correction.

  14. Shane

    He had a great season last year. The only thing that was a negative was he couldn’t get it across the goal line in short yardage situations. Then again it could have been the offensive line so I think that’s a big thing to look out for at the start of the season.

  15. Terry

    RON/RUSS your babbling again!! But I still see struggles coming in 2013. 6-6 is very decent for 2013. SU’s depth still is a big concern and injuries might play into the 2013 season!! Hope not. Keep the babbling going-well sort of!

  16. @Terry;

    What are friends for? If not to bring up a subject for a debate,then what is left for guys like Russ and I to do?

  17. Cuse don't luse

    Louisville and Mizzou were great but beating West Virginia a team that beat my friends beloved ut was the icing on the cake also everyone is talking about gmlll but let’s not forget about PTG he turned it on of late gotta keep him and Ashton in the mix our backfield is sick Allen will be fine as our qb wales is a god TE we always have a fine line now who can help out jarrod west thought it would we Quinta funderburk I guessed wrong he is buried on the depth chart I could Ashton becoming a full time receiver with his size also Fleming needs to step up still no reason for concern but after 2 games we will know what we are dealing with

  18. @Cuse don’t luse;

    Glad to see your still alive and kicking down there.

    How did school go this year? Did you pass? If you haven’t guessed by now,there are a few of us that believe Syracuse is going to have a pretty good season this year.

  19. Smitty Section 129

    Our RBs stack up with the best of them. This team will beat Penn State. I’m pumped for this season. We will be bowling.

  20. Cusefan in mountaineer land

    Ive been reading this page now for a little over 3 years, this being my first post ever let me start by saying some of you guys are Hilarious.

    I am right smack in the middle of mountaineer nation. I literally can walk to the stadium in 5 min. Dealing with WVU fans on a daily is horrible. I must say the last few years have been great, watching cuse beat up on them.
    Last season was great with the greatest possible ending for me, A New Yorker living in WV watching the Cuse beat the break off of the mountaineers in the Pinstripe Bowl.

    Go CUSE.

  21. Russell MacEachern

    @Cusefan in Mtneerland,I know what your talking about!My nephew in NJ went to WVU and has half my family converted to “Country Roads” and boy can they get arrogant with a little success!..I agree we can be VERY Humorous here!!Keep watching us argue and disagee on most anything!!Ha ha

  22. Russell MacEachern

    @Ron,MtCuse is right!Sometimes when I read our interaction I go from mad to laughing?We have a lovely bunch of coconuts cusestyle here!!lol!!Maybe write a book or reality show on the sizzling Fizz…?

  23. @Russell MacEachern;

    Russell I’ve witnessed first hand about what our newest member”Cusefan in Mtneerland”speaks of.

    Some people just don’t have a sense of humor and don’t recognize it when it’s offered. At times Russell,people have me rolling on the floor laughing so hard.

    Remember now that your still the “KING OF THE ONE LINERS”on this website. You’ve earned that title Russell,wear it proudly old friend.

    Welcome aboard “Cusefan in mountaineer land”. Keep in touch,at times,the members here have some lively debates that touch the nerves. Your opinion is only going to make things more kinteresting.

  24. That Mizzou game was a lot of fun last year. I was living in Boston at the time and was watching it at Whiskey’s. These guys came in and sat down to watch the game next to me. Turned out they were from Missouri and Mizzou fans (apparently they pick a random city to watch a football game in every year and chose Boston College for some reason… the game was such a stinker that they left to watch the Harvard vs. Yale game, which is a great rivalry). Anyways, they were busting my balls throughout the game and I was jabbing back, but when that final score went up they fell dead quiet and didn’t even want to look at me. One of the best moments of that season, other than watching the Louisville game in the Dome.

  25. Russell MacEachern

    Great story Derek!Its times like that we can hold our heads up w/o being too obnoxious!

  26. Russell MacEachern

    Looks like Ron’s moved on from this thread?

  27. @Russell MacEachern;

    I had just about the same experience back in 1995/96 when Syracuse played Clemson in the Gator Bowl.

    if I hadn’t had my wife with me russell I think the 3 guys for Clemson would have beat me senseless. It all started when they asked me what I thought about the game and what the spread would be.

    My answer to them,Syracuses defense was being overlooked and when challanged was going to shut their running game completey down and Syracuse would win the game by at least 17 points. That upset the gentlemen and after Syracuse had destroyed them 41-0,they were nowhere to be found when we walked back to the car.

    I love Dereks story too,kiddo.

  28. Russell,Terry mentioned in a post how strong the optimism is that I have for Syracuse University Athletics. He’s correct. Over the years I’ve had the honor and privilage to meet and talk with the players and every time came away from those meetings “pumped”.

    At this point in time Russell, I believe that history is repeating itself. Just as it was in 1995/96 the pundits didn’t give Syracuse a chance against Clemson. When I got into the stadium all I could see on the jumbo screen was Clemson,Clemson,Clemson highlights. Not much was said about Syracuse(before the game)that day. If I didn’t know better I would swear that the Gator Bowl Officials were crying when they handed Coach Pasqualoni the Game Trophy and Donovan McNabb the MVP Trophy.

    I think the results in 2013 are going to be the same. I truly believe that Syracuse will beat the mighty Tigers of Clemson. Our team is being demoralized by the articles written about them in todays newspapers and on ESPN. No one is giving us a chance. My optimism is telling me differently. It’s telling me again just like in 1995/96 that Syracuse will win the game.

  29. Russell MacEachern

    I’m getting the same feeling?If we could somehow shock an depleted PSU roster and catch Clampson overconfident again we could be in for a nice early surprise!I wish Ryan Nassib had 1 more yr!!

  30. @Russell MacEachern;

    Just remember,we have 4 games and a bye week before we play Clemson at home.

    I’m feeling it man,i’m feeling it!!!!

  31. Russell MacEachern

    You know Ron sometimes being underestimated rouses a “special bunch to do special things”..A couple of years ago all the know it all talking heads and media picked a demoralized RU team(after Erik LeGrand’s paralyisis) to finish last in the BE and they were in it till the last game and came in 2nd and won a bowl game!!Thats whats so great about football…no BS… leave it all on the field!!

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