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Loaded RB Corps Should Give Syracuse Reasons for Optimism

For SU football the question right now, more than five months from the opening kickoff against Rhode Island, “is there an area of this team we can feel comfortable?”

Yes, the running back position.

Offensive Coordinator Tim Lester has made it known that he wants to play a different type of offense than George McDonald’s spread it out, bubble screen, speed game. Sure, the offensive line is a bit of a question mark, but that is why teams use two tight ends—something Lester has said he will take advantage of.

We know what we have in the running backs at the top of the depth chart. George Morris II and Devante McFarlane have both shown they can contribute to the team, even if it was on a limited basis in each of the previous two years. Both offer different skills and bring different aspects of the running game to the table.

Behind them, the Orange can take advantage of Erv Phillips and Ashton Broyld, two slot receivers that have experience as running backs. This is another thing that Lester has mentioned doing. It is something that should happen considering the dynamic nature of both players. Both Broyld and Phillips have shown in the past that they can make plays, but they need to be given an opportunity to do so more often.

But what if you don’t like those options? Who else do the Orange have? Well, first there is Terrel Hunt—he will be the starting quarterback. He is built like a linebacker at 6’3” and 219 pounds, and last year he ran for nearly 300 yards and six touchdowns in just five games before missing the rest of the year with a broken leg.

Well, what about recruits? Dontae Strickland comes out of New Jersey, and as long as his academics are in order he should make an impact on next year’s team. Strickland seems to be a bigger pass catching threat than the other running backs the Orange has right now.

Next up is Jordan Fredericks. The incoming freshman racked up huge numbers in his senior year at Lawrence High School on Long Island. He even told the Fizz that coaches said to “learn the plays quick enough” so he can make it in a rotation with the other backs.

So, while the defense may have its question marks, and Terrel Hunt is still a bit of an unknown at QB, the running game again looks like it should be the backbone of the SU offense, and under Tim Lester it just may be.

Posted:  Seth Goldberg

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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