After a remarkable turnaround 10 win season, Syracuse football kicks off its spring game this Saturday at 1:30. So, in fans first chance to see SU since its bowl game win over West Virginia, let’s break down what to look for.
Tommy DeVito shows out as the starter
After two years in the program, Tommy DeVito finally gets the chance to shine as the guy. There were times last season where he showed off his cannon of an arm. He led Syracuse to a comeback victory over UNC when Eric Dungey struggled. But there were also games where he struggled, like against Notre Dame. He also had trouble against Wagner and Western Michigan, but those were the first couple games of his career, so it’s natural for him to struggle a little bit.
But the Spring Game is DeVito’s first chance to prove himself. Expect him to show off the arm, but he also needs to show he’s improved as a decision maker. Everyone knows he can chuck it 40 yards down the field, but he still needs to learn when not to throw it deep. Against Notre Dame he threw a bomb into double coverage that got picked off.
Roles of Incoming Freshman Linebackers
Syracuse returns senior linebackers Andrew Armstrong and Lakiem Williams, and Dino Babers has shown he likes veteran linebackers to lead the defense. Last year SU was in the same position, where it returned veteran inexperienced linebackers. It worked a year ago, and that’s probably what the coaching staff tries again. But those two don’t compare athletically to freshman Lee Kpogba and Mikel Jones. The freshmen are likely still learning Syracuse’s defensive schemes, but they can show off their athleticism in the Spring Game.
How Does the Offensive Line Look?
SU is tasked with replacing three starters from last seasons offensive line in tackles Koda Martin and Cody Conway and guard Aaron Roberts. The O-line was the main reason for Syracuse’s 10-win season. For the most part, the veteran group stayed healthy, which led to Eric Dungey being sacked just 13 times. For comparison, the year before, Dungey went down 22 times while playing four less games. Some credit has to be given to Dungey for improving his pocket awareness and knowing when to run. But it’s incredibly impressive for an offensive line to give up only 13 sacks on a dual-threat quarterback. This position group’s performance from last season will be the hardest to replicate. Babers has done a fantastic job recruiting the position group, but now it’s time for inexperienced players to step up. SU has lots of options but there’s no place harder to play from young guys than the offensive line.