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Brian Ward Fired: What’s Next?

After another embarrassing defensive performance against Boston College, it felt like this was the last year of the Brian Ward era as the defensive coordinator. It’s a little surprising to see this news come out in the middle of the season though. 

However, I like it. One thing is for sure: change was needed. So why wait? 

While the offensive line has been the major issue throughout the season, this defense has been the biggest systematic issue since Babers and Ward have come to Syracuse. 

Not to mention, the defense has had talent, especially this year. There are NFL caliber players on this roster and big plays have been a problem each and every year. That second quarter against the Eagles was just another example of a pathetic performance that seems like a systemic issue

There is obviously a case to be made that offensive line coach Mike Cavanuagh has a shaky future with the program as well. Perhaps this is just the first domino to fall. But, at least you can say the offensive line problems are partially because of a lack of talent. They are starting two freshmen at the two tackle spots. We expected the offensive line to be a trouble spot and Sam Heckel got hurt. Now, it’s still inexcusable and indefensible how bad the offensive line has been. 

But, the defense is the bigger issue in terms of the big picture. Dino Babers went out of his way in the preseason to say this unit could be “special,” and they allowed 42 points to Maryland in the first half (a team we now know is below average) and then another 44 points in the first half to Boston College. A one dimensional team with a backup former walk on quarterback that scored four touchdowns of 50+ yards in one quarter. 

BC’s coach Steve Addazio said it all after the game when he essentially said they ran the same play 30 times Saturday. Right to a school record of total yards on offense. 

I don’t need to bore you with how bad the defense has been though. We all agree this was warranted. The big question now is what’s next? Do we feel like this is enough or should there be changes to other parts of the coaching staff? 

The defense has been getting turnovers too which makes it even puzzling. Usually that is a key to winning games and mask issues, if anything. But, even with all these turnovers, they have still struggled this year. 

We will see if Ward leaving changes the way the team looks the rest of the season. Maybe, this gives Steve Stanard, the former D-line coach and new interim DC, a chance to tryout for the gig. It feels like going out of the program is the best move in this scenario though.

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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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