With Syracuse’s football season looming on the horizon, The Fizz visited with the voice of the Orange, Matt Park, to get his perspective on SU’s potential for the upcoming season, as well as a look around the Big East.
Park discussed the early media rankings and believes you can’t put too much stock in them:
‚ÄúPreseason picks don‚Äôt mean a lot and they‚Äôre awfully hard to do. But from a Syracuse perspective, just to see that they aren‚Äôt 7th or 8th for the first time in a while is important.‚Äù
It’s always nice to see Syracuse picked to finish outside the basement. It may be a small moral victory, but it‚Äôs been a few years since the SU table at Media Day was met without pessimism. As for an overview of a conference still 1 B.T. (Before TCU), it looks like there’s not much separation between any of the eight teams.
‚ÄúThere‚Äôs not that elite program right now. But the other part of it is, whatever the floor of the conference is, isn‚Äôt as low as it‚Äôs been either. It‚Äôs not Temple, it‚Äôs not completely overmatched in every game, so right now I think the coaches are excited, beacuse if your on the bottom it doesn‚Äôt take a lot to get to the top.‚Äù
Critics may believe that parity translates into long-term mediocrity, but with some hot new coaches who could potentially stick around awhile and the addition of a powerhouse like the Horned Frogs, the Big East does have some hope.
Where does the Orange fit into the mix? Syracuse loses some critical pieces on defense which will put more pressure on Ryan Nassib and the offense.
‚ÄúThe offense has to be better. Statistically it‚Äôs got nowhere to go but up, Doug Marrone‚Äôs got as good a playbook as any so I‚Äôm confident when they get people where they want to be and the talent is getting better on the offensive end they‚Äôll be able to execute.‚Äù
Nassib in Year Two of the same offensive system is very important and along with most of the starters returning should spell more success for the attack. But there is pressure to perform after a sluggish ’10, and if the offense struggles it could be disastrous. Marcus Sales would seem to be a key part of that, but Park disagrees.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt want to throw dirt on him at this point either, but statistically in the past would show it‚Äôs not a huge loss. I think he‚Äôs had one outstanding off the charts game in his career. I think the coaches and even the previous coaching staff was always trying to get more out of Marcus Sales and if he has an opportunity to continue here that will be a major theme for him. He‚Äôs got to every single day give the very best that he‚Äôs got. The depth is better, but not proven everybody says Jarrod West is gonna be a superstar, but he hasn‚Äôt played and Dorian Graham hasn‚Äôt proven he can catch the ball.‚Äù
Sales could still be a key to this offense depending on Marrone’s decision to possibly bring him back. When he‚Äôs on the field, Sales is SU’s most talented player and biggest threat. But the Orange has some experience returning on offense and potential young playmakers, so somebody could emerge or Sales may eventually return. If not, Orange Nation may been left to ponder what could have been with Sales.
Posted: Alex Plavin