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Retreat to the Secondary

The Orange is ranked 116th in pass defense in the FBS. Rice, Nevada, UAB and Washington State are the only teams that rank worse than the ‘Cuse.

It was bad. Yes, the turnovers (7) were ugly and they cost this team dearly against USF. An aberration like that always spells doom and Marrone admitted it after the game.

What isn’t an aberration, and has become a consistent problem this year, is the secondary.

How consistent? The Orange is ranked 116th in pass defense in the FBS. Rice, Nevada, UAB and Washington State are the only teams that rank worse than the ‘Cuse.

Referring to the USF game, many will point to the offense’s inability to stay on the field as a reason why the defense was so gassed. And we here at The Fizz can buy that, at least some of the time.

But there is no excuse for being beaten on an 85-yard bomb on the first play of the second half from BJ Daniels, a quarterback who is known far more for his legs than his arms. That’s on you, Kevyn Scott. There was one particular tweet from that weekend, which rang true.

@Nunesmagician: No more CBs named Scott

However, the safeties need to take some of the blame for this, as well. Mike Holmes and Max Suter, as mentioned in last week’s FizzCast, are a solid tackling unit, but they struggle in coverage. And when the Scott’s are struggling to stay on their defenders, the safeties need to help out.

Is there any hope on the horizon?

We’ve seen freshman Shamarko Thomas get plenty of playing time in the secondary, and even though he’s a cornerback, the problems at safety have put him there some times this season. While he’s only playing nickel and dime schemes this year, he should become a force in the next two years.

There is Fizz Fave Rishard Anderson. The Fizz was there in February[see Fizz 2.4.09] when the South Florida product ignored the big boys in his home state and signed with SU. Florida’s greatest export isn’t oranges. It’s speed. And Anderson has it; kid runs a 4.4 in the 40 and was an incredibly polite young man when we met him.
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MP3FIZZ AUDIO: Listen to an exclusive Fizz interview with Orange recruit Rishard Anderson on Signing Day.
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And still on the board for the ’10 class are a couple of kids with decent credentials.

Devonta Tabannah is one of them, a two-star recruit in the Orange crosshairs, but SU hasn’t made an offer yet. Marrone and co. might need to get on the ball soon, because rebuilding the secondary will be key to SU’s recovery from the Groobers era.

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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