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:
“Preseason picks don’t mean a lot and they’re awfully hard to do. But from a Syracuse perspective, just to see that they aren’t 7th or 8th for the first time in a while is important.”
It’s always nice to see Syracuse picked to finish outside the basement. It may be a small moral victory, but it’s 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.
“There’s not that elite program right now. But the other part of it is, whatever the floor of the conference is, isn’t as low as it’s been either. It’s not Temple, it’s not completely overmatched in every game, so right now I think the coaches are excited, beacuse if your on the bottom it doesn’t take a lot to get to the top.”
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.
“The offense has to be better. Statistically it’s got nowhere to go but up, Doug Marrone’s got as good a playbook as any so I’m confident when they get people where they want to be and the talent is getting better on the offensive end they’ll be able to execute.”
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.
“I don’t want to throw dirt on him at this point either, but statistically in the past would show it’s not a huge loss. I think he’s 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’s got to every single day give the very best that he’s got. The depth is better, but not proven everybody says Jarrod West is gonna be a superstar, but he hasn’t played and Dorian Graham hasn’t proven he can catch the ball.”
Sales could still be a key to this offense depending on Marrone’s decision to possibly bring him back. When he’s 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