Two key positions on the SU depth chart are arguably set in stone for 2014.
Earlier in the week, the Fizz examined some position battles. With three weeks until the start of the season, the Orange has positions that are still up in the air, but there are others that are 100% decided upon, and very deep.
Running Backs: With a level of uncertainty still surrounding the passing game, the ground attack will be very important to the SU offense. With that said, the Orange has plenty of options to go with. Prince-Tyson Gulley is firmly entrenched in the starting role, but behind him sit a pair of sophomores: George Morris II and Devante McFarlane, both of whom should get plenty of playing of time. They each made impacts last season: GMII showed a lot of speed and burst, and McFarlane showed he could hit a hole and run through a defense.
Since Jerome Smith left for the NFL and with a roster so deep, look for the possibility of the Orange lining up multiple running backs in the backfield with the uncertainty around the receivers.
After Morris and McFarlane, Adonis Ameen-Moore is still on the team and is looking to make an impact after a down year last season. Ameen-Moore was able to contribute two seasons ago, but was lost among running backs last year and was unable to get on the field. If he returns to productivity, the Orange will be very deep at one of their most important offensive positions.
Linebackers: The linebackers are yet another position where the starters are likely set, with Cam Lynch and Dyshawn Davis on the outside and Marqez Hodge inside. But at each position, there is a backup with experience or, in one case, promise. Behind Davis and Hodge are Josh Kirkland and Luke Arciniega, who both saw the field last season. Both got significant minutes after injuries to the starting group. While Kirkland and Arciniega may not be the best options the Orange have, they certainly can fill the role in the case of an injury.
The promise comes from Cam Lynch’s backup: Zaire Franklin, a true freshman. Franklin could play as soon as later this season, but he will also be an important piece of the defense over the next three years after Cam Lynch and Dyshawn Davis graduate.
Posted by: Seth Goldberg