Graduate transfer Ryan Alexander’s Syracuse career ended as quickly as it began. The right tackle left the team last Friday after transferring from South Alabama this past offseason. He played in all seven of SU’s games before this weekend’s FSU showdown. Alexander’s absence will be felt on an already weak, depleted offensive line. The Syracuse O-line ranks dead last in the FBS in sacks allowed.
Now with their starting right tackle gone, the Orange have gone to freshman Matthew Bergeron to fill the gap. Other than the obvious talent drop, that isn’t getting better any time soon, Alexander’s departure tells us a lot about this football team.
Since Dino Babers was hired at Syracuse, he has talked about growing a family-like culture. In his press conferences, he references how close his team is and how everyone involved has “belief without evidence.” But, Ryan Alexander was in Syracuse for less than 12 months and didn’t want to be there any longer.
Now, Alexander may be a rare case, but his quitting could show a larger issue with the Orange. Maybe the team isn’t as close. Maybe the losing season has ruined the culture Babers has tried to build. Maybe the players need to see evidence to have belief.
The most significant detail of Alexander’s situation is that he didn’t tell Babers when he quit. In Babers’s press conference after the FSU game, he said Alexander only told the offensive line coach that he quit and hasn’t spoken to Babers since. Babers didn’t seem too happy with the situation and didn’t want to entertain many questions about it.
“We don’t react to guys that quit,” said Babers.
The fact that Alexander never told his head coach and hasn’t talked to him since shows that the two may not have had the best relationship. Again, this could be a special case, but a starter quitting in the middle of the season is extremely rare and says something about Syracuse.