SU safety Antwan Cordy announced on Saturday that he will not return for the remainder of the season due to a hairline fracture to his lower leg. Cordy announced it on his Instagram account with this message and photo.
This is heartbreaking news for Cordy, who will now miss essentially back to back full seasons because of injuries. The junior was originally estimated to be back around the Clemson game after going down with an injury in SU’s week one win over Central Connecticut State. So now that he is officially lost for the season, what does this mean for Syracuse’s bowl chances?
It’s obviously not great but there is still no reason at all to hit the panic button. At least not yet. We still don’t know how much time defensive backs Scoop Bradshaw and Juwan Dowels are going to miss with their own injuries yet. But, assuming those aren’t season ending, this Syracuse pass defense has already proved it can hold the fort down without Cordy. So far, the Orange secondary has allowed roughly 50 less passing yards a game compared to last year. That might not sound like a big difference but in the grand scheme of things that’s a drastic improvement. Without Cordy last year, SU’s secondary cost them several games, including the final game of the year that ended Syracuse’s bowl hopes. This year, however, SU’s improved secondary depth has changed the outlook of this team. With the additions of Notre Dame transfer Devin M. Butler and increased roles from sophomores Chris Frederick, Scoop Bradshaw and Evan Foster, the Orange secondary is no longer swish cheese.
Syracuse has enough depth to rotate defensive backs and keep fresh legs on the field for a majority of the game. At the end of the day, depth is the most important quality on the SU defense. When your up-tempo offense is often giving your defense little to no time to rest between possessions, it’s easy to get tired out there. Last year, Brian Ward’s defense lacked depth and it showed. SU was blowing assignments and looked overmatched in the secondary. However, with a year of the Tampa two scheme now under their belt and improved depth, this Syracuse secondary has become very respectable.
When the injury bug reared its ugly head last year, SU’s defense went from bad to one of the worst in the country. This year, has been a completely different story though. Syracuse has still dealt with injuries all season long. From Josh Black and Kendall Coleman on the defensive line to Cordy in the secondary, luck has not been on the Orange’s side again. Yet, SU hasn’t looked phased at one point all season. Cordy’s injury means Syracuse can’t afford to lose too many more secondary members the rest of the way. It means it’s more urgent that Dowels and Bradshaw get healthy and back on the field soon. But, it’s not doomsday like last year. As we said at the start of the season, SU has the depth to last without Cordy. On top of that, with the exception of Lamar Jackson, Syracuse doesn’t face anyone too scary at the quarterback position the rest of the way. I feel for Antwan Cordy and truly hope he gets back on the field next year. But in the meantime, SU is still on track to make its first bowl since 2013 and the secondary should continue to be just fine without Cordy the rest of the way.