When something good comes to an end, it usually makes way for something good to take its place.
That is exactly what Syracuse has heading into its second season in the ACC, but at the running back position. Jerome Smith has declared for the NFL Draft, so the top two guys at the position come down to senior Prince-Tyson Gulley and junior George Morris.
Just to recap: Gulley spent time on the sidelines with an injury. This only helped Smith’s case for the NFL Draft because he was able to get more carries on the gridiron. Although Gulley isn’t the biggest player on the field, he makes a strong case for the top string back because of his footwork. He has quick feet and he’s a fast thinker. He sees the open lanes and loves the work his offensive line does for him.
Gulley NFL comparison: Maurice Jones-Drew
Jones-Drew is similar. He’s small, and his strength gives him the ability to plow through.
Even though this is a positive quality for Gulley, who has 83 carries for 456 yards and four touchdowns, he’s a solid third-down back as well because of his aggressiveness and ability to see the lanes close to the end zone.
Then there is George Morris, the junior back who got opportunities as a sophomore. The speedy Morris rushed for 334 yards on 79 carries. Morris, like Gulley, has the quick feet. If there is a lane and Morris can run into open field, nobody will catch him because of his speed.
Morris NFL comparison: Doug Martin
Martin also jumped onto the scene last year as one of the NFL’s better young backs. Morris can do that and possibly surprise Orange Nation and college football as the man taking over for a senior.
The good thing for the Orange is that these two running backs are different. When Syracuse is in a certain game situation, Scott Shafer and his staff can look at these two players and decide who gives the team the best chance to succeed at this moment in the game.
Even if the offensive line can’t create a good lane for the running back, Morris’ quick feet and decision making gives him the chance to not only create his own lanes, but to sneak through the defense and find the open field. When the offensive line can’t do much for the running back, Morris gives Syracuse the best chance to win. If the coaching staff sees that Morris can do more and help the Orange put more points on the board, do not be surprised if at some point in the season Morris is getting more carries than Gulley.
Posted by: Austin Pollack