Fixing the Offense: Here’s how Syracuse Needs to Attack the Wagner Defense

Is this the last shot for Drew Allen to lead a few scoring drives and keep the starter’s job?

Two weeks down and two losses later, Orange Nation is feeling deflated to start the season. It’s not even the 0-2 start that has the Syracuse faithful down, but the lackluster offensive production thus far. But it’s not all bad. Yes, Drew Allen has struggled mightily and the defense is still working out consistency issues, but there is a lot of season left. Luckily, Wagner enters the Dome this Saturday with Syracuse seeking to release its frustration on the lowly Seahawks.

Allen is fighting for his job the next two games at the Dome. Scott Shafer made a move to Terrel Hunt for the final SU drive against Northwestern. Although it was only against the Wildcats’ backup defense, Hunt lead the team to a touchdown drive capped off by a 15-yard rushing TD. Meanwhile, Allen is desperate to find open receivers more than ever with his tight end Beckett Wales in a boot on his left foot. Three receivers had more than 50 receiving yards but Allen could not find any receiver enough to create an offensive threat.

When preseason camp ended, it seemed as if Allen and Hunt were neck and neck in the QB race. Maybe this as an opportunity for Hunt to inherit the job if Allen fails to get the offense going in the Dome. Allen will most likely get the start in both the Wagner and Tulane games but it would not be surprising to Hunt get a fair share of snaps. An interesting tidbit was the debut of WR Quinta Funderburk. He had two catches for 22 yards and was targeted by Hunt throughout the last Syracuse drive. George McDonald would love to have Funderburk, the former 4-star recruit, as a legitimate threat in the Orange passing attack.

Allen and the offense should take the training wheels off. The Seahawks simply don’t have the athletes to keep up with the Orange. Use the wideouts to get downfield and use their size to an advantage over smaller DBs. Find confidence for Allen, while helping him develop a relationship with his receivers. Use Ashton Broyld in space, his speed is far more than anything Wagner will normally see. It’s a terrific opportunity to finally get the passing game going, and build some confidence around a unit that’s taken a lot of criticism.

As for Wagner, the Seahawks are coming off a disappointing home loss to Div. II Merrimack. Senior running back Dominique Williams ran for over 100 yards and had two scores on the day, but Joe Clancy and the Warriors were too much to handle. This is a great opportunity for Syracuse to find consistency in their game. The defense played solid against Penn State but fell off in Evanston playing against the two-QB system. The Orange defense needs to cause pressure on the line and create turnovers. This could be a much needed confidence boost.

Even more important for the Orange is the running game. As The Fizz mentioned early in the week, the rushing attack is supposed to be the bread and butter of the offense. So far, Jerome Smith and Price Tyson-Gulley have not had breakout games. It would not be surprising to see both abuse the Wagner run defense, which gave up 124 yards of rushing to a DII school. Pound Smith insider, utilizing his size. Use PTG on sweeps and outside runs since Wagner will not have the speed to keep up with him. Let McDonald be aggressive and begin to find his identity as a play caller.

Shafer has seen his team fall in the first two games of the season. Syracuse fans imagine he will lead a fired up team ready to play this Saturday. He cannot afford not to.

Posted: Zephan Mayell

18 Comments on this Post

  1. orangeinva

    I don’t think Allen and Hunt should split time at QB. It should be Hunt’s turn. Allen had 4 weeks of taking the majority of snaps and has delivered 1TD and 6 pics. He stares down receivers and the ball comes out low resulting in knocked down passes. He could be successful against Wagner and Tulane-weaker foes- where these traits may not be so damning.

    But they will re-emerge once the ACC schedule begins…does Allen give us the best chance to generate offense and win?
    I see no evidence to support that. Time to go to the bullpen.

  2. orangeinva is absolutely right. Hunt knows the playbook and has the support and respect of the team. He plays hard-nosed football using the strengths of the team, and keeps the defense guessing. The team does not need a pro-style quarterback who is lost and can’t pass above the heads of the opposing linemen.

    But we all know what the boneheaded coaches will do on Saturday. After all they’re the same bunch that disappeared the running game and can’t communicate with the team on two consecutive plays. Their bad decisions have really hurt this team. Stop throwing the ball down the sidelines to receivers that aren’t ready for prime time! Use Hunt’s successful drive at the end of the Northwestern game as a prototype for what will work, and swallow your pride and admit that he is a gamer and Allen is not!

  3. How quickly we forget. Last year Syracuse started 1-3. Could of easily been 1-5 if they didn’t pull a close one out at home against Pitt. How many points did they put up against Pitt and Minnesota??? They had trouble beating Stony Brook! Then they turned it around, the offense found its groove and they ended up 8-5 and a successful season. We know the accelades Ryan Nassib, Alec Lemon, Justin Pugh, and Marrone ended up getting…did anybody show them love the first 6 weeks?? NO!!!
    Give the guys a damn break. It was like two away games and Drew Allen’s first starts in 5 years. Lets use these two games coming up and a bye to improve. I think Drew Allen will turn things around, the running game will start improving, and the D will get better. Lets support these kids and show them some love. I personally think the Cuse will be real competitve this year! It would of been great if we had two warm up games to start like most teams did, but we didn’t…so lets regroup and Pack The Dome!!!

  4. SU should be able to beat Wagner with its team playing as poorly as it has in the last two weeks. If the coaches allow another total collapse by eith the defense or the offense ,it might be time to begin questioning their management skills.The biggest change announced is with our punter. Considering how often we need that play, it srves the team well but I think anew look at QB is more critical but the bad news her is that playing Wagner will allow the receivers to get open enough for Allen to impress enough to continue his starting position regardless of the competition. We should look to the following week’s game for the reality of this issue.

  5. Mack Brown($5 million a year)of Texas and Lane Kiven of USC are both on the hotseat and will probably lose their jobs at the end of 2013. I guess we’re not the only group of fans not happy.

    Let’s go Orangemen,Longhorns and Trojans.

  6. @Terry;

    I understand the point your trying to make regarding Syracuses ability to draw and retain top players from within NYS.

    But after reading about Mack Brown(Texas)and Lane Kiffen(USC),I’m finding out that locking down their respective state’s top talent isn’t always what’s best for the program.

    I apologize for misspelling Lane Kiffens last name in the previous post.

  7. so much for 4-0 to start the season.. right guys?

    dang, su sucks.

  8. Give Hunt the ball!
    I don’t blame Allen for our embarassing start. The offensive line is a no show, the offensive coaching staff is way over its head. We don’t have a running game. The receivers aren’t capable of running simple routes. The play calling sucks.
    Hunt’s got three years left. Allen was an experiment and even if he’s better than Hunt….so what!
    We looked bad against two mediocre teams. Wait till we get to the heart of the ACC schedule.
    Might as well give Hunt the ball and let him learn under fire…..if he doesn’t get killed behind that line.
    Sharing time is stupid!

  9. Ron,I seen an article in sports that when the #7 nationally ranked Dematha Catholic of DC pulled in and filed out they were telling the Paramus Catholic fans get ready to see the greatest show on earth??Final score St Joes,Montvale 42 DeMatha 14!!Next week 4 more NJ HS games with out of state powers!?!Last week Gilman,Md and St Joes Prep,PA and DeMatha found out what NJ HS football is about!!NJ3 Out of State 1.#1 ranked “John J Curtis”LA.eked out BC at their house in La!!

  10. Edit;St.Joes,Montvale fans NOT Paramus Catholic fans who whipped Gilman,Md I believe on the road?Malone would know all the correct scoop on NJ HS “bigtime” on the North Jersey powers!I suffer early onset dementia Ha Ha..

  11. Cuse Don't Luse

    @Ron I have a friend who is a Pitt fan another who is a USC fan, another who is a ND fan but besides that the rest are UT (and TAMU or Baylor) so down here all of us are unhappy also ervin phillips is D1 for all who say he isn’t take a gander at a little of this
    I heard Ishmael is still in the running have to figure if he is the staff is shaky on either Cooper or Williams status
    In other news RB Rushel Shell who transferred from Pitt to UCLA this past season has been denied the ability to transfer back to Pitt by UCLA

  12. @Cuse Don’t Luse;

    Thanks for the information. Myself, I’m a college football junky. I just love watching a good game of football There is only one team that I truly don’t like and that is ND. If you haven’t guessed by now my most loved college team is the Syracuse Orangemen.

    I’ve taken a lot of grief over the years because of my beliefs and love that I have for them. I have had the chance to meet a lot of the past & current players and have enjoyed every moment. Today at work, Louis Alexander just got cut by Tamba Bay,is back on campus working out,and stopped by to chat for 10 minutes.

    I enjoy this website because of the members sharing their thoughts and information with everone. It is truly the best that the web has to offer.

    I also know, it’s got to be hard for anyone living in a state that has more than one DI program to root for.

    In the end I just set back on any given Saturday and watch the games. Russell now has me watching some good high school games. How can you beat that? It’s great.

  13. Ron,my memory is showing signs of early dementia so forgive some of the lapses in my posts….I think it was St Joes “Montvale” 42 DeMatha 14..and the story was about the arrogance of the DeMatha Catholic players telling St Joes,NJ fans to get ready to see the “greatest show on earth”?They saw it and it was St.Joes,NJ. Ha Ha..Jamal Custis will really help at 6’6″ 215…sorta like a Brandon Coleman if were lucky!He was a very good get!

  14. @Russell Stugots;

    Which game should I watch if anyone of the NJ teams get televised this weekend?

    I watched the video clip on Ervin Phillips that “Cuse Don’t Luse” has provided us. That too was pretty impressive. Looking forwards to some football this weekend Russell.

  15. We watched the replay of the NW game. First Smith had a decent game so I’ll bite my lips on my sour words on him. It seems more a “OL” problem!!

    Hunt was not really impressive to me. He ran awkwardly to me. Which means injuries coming his way!! His passing was ok. But he’s not all that athletic either. Throw him in the next couple of games and see what happens! If both QB’s fail then what?? Look what is failure aganist Wagner/Tulane?? Wagner is a no brainer. Little or no mistakes and a rout!! TULANE can beat SU and will beat SU unless HCSS changes some stuff. The OL/DL/DB/S are the main concerns. No rush!! No coverage at all against NW!! Poor blocking up front!! All of these 4 positions can get SU beat by Tulane let alone Clemson!! LOL!! As of now it just does not look good for this year!! And folks felt 9/10 wins for this years team!! Sorry to bust your bubble!!

  16. Ron,I’ll let you know after I check out the HS weekend menu for TV HS games but if there on TV you can’t go wrong with NJHS FB!Plus you can see potential future recruits as they develop!Also Malone could give us some tips as he’s savvy about N.Jersey HS football [email protected],the point about UCLA refusing was moot because Pitt had already told Shell he wasn’t wanted!Thats why they went after Ollison and just this week got hs commitment!

  17. Not too long ago you could watch NYC/LI high school FB games regularly on regular NYC stations. Rarely now unless you have special TV setup!!

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