Just¬†when you thought it couldn’t get worse than Louisville, there was the UConn game. When you figured the Huskies loss was¬†the nadir, the Orange presents South Florida. What a dump of a game. Friday‚Äôs homecoming game may have been the worst football game in the Big East this season. Penalties, drops, mental mistakes, bad execution and a pace similar to a Red Sox/Yankees game with a John Lackey vs. A.J. Burnett pitching matchup. It. Was. Brutal. So after suffering by reliving the horrificness, here‚Äôs this week‚Äôs Fizz 5:
- Everything is Doug Marrone‚Äôs fault. #Sarcasm
In The Dougie’s bizarro world post-game press conference, he took the entire loss on himself. Basic football mistakes were his fault. All the missed blocks were his fault. The dropped passes (including three in the endzone), on him. He‚Äôs wrong.
Players play and coaches coach. Yes, Marrone can drill them harder and in higher pressure situations, but his guys still have to execute. His line has to give the quarterback time. Ryan Nassib has to complete better than 50% of his throws, and his receivers need to squeeze the magic bean. Marrone can take the blame all he wants, but he should put more responsibility on the players. Maybe the team needs to feel more responsibility, making it more likely to improve. There‚Äôs no telling what was said privately, but for the second week in a row,The Fizz is disappointed with HCDM’s postgame comments.
- SU has at least one good offensive player and he wears #15.
Alec Lemon went over 150 yards receiving for the second straight week. He did drop a touchdown on a difficult play, and kicked a catchable 4th down late in the game. But overall it was a tremendous day for the junior. He‚Äôs a good route runner. who has developed great chemistry with Nassib. He runs the plays Nassib likes, and can actually create enough separation for trigger-shy ‚ÄúSir-dinks-a-lot‚Äù to put it in the air. He‚Äôs going to drop a few, but he‚Äôs as solid as SU has.
As for the other receivers, Jarrod West seems to have lost his confidence thanks to a few drops. Dorian Graham had a return case of a football allergy in his hands. Van Chew got hurt and Nick Provo was MIA. Getting the ball to #80 needs to be a priority and Provo was a non-factor vs the Bulls.
- Establishing the run is great. Continuing to run is better.
What‚Äôs the point in establishing the run if you abandon it? That‚Äôs exactly what Syracuse did in the first half. SU began by running on its first 7 plays. That set up play action, but in a shocking development Nassib missed on an inaccurate deep ball (seriously, has he completed one deep since the Pinstripe Bowl?).
In the first quarter, SU’s run to pass was 12-to-4. In the second quarter, it flipped to an incredible 2-to-19. ¬†The Orange ran the ball a whopping two times. Nassib doesn‚Äôt like to throw the ball in tight windows. The defense starts dropping more guys in coverage when SU stops running. Establishing the run does nothing if you don‚Äôt stick to it. SU wasn‚Äôt trailing bug enough in the 2nd quarter to abandon the ground. The Orange trailed 3-0 at the start of the 2nd quarter. It went into half down 20-10.
- Nathaniel Hackett – I appreciate your candor, but I disagree with your answers.
There are a few things everyone should know about Hackett. 1) He and Tim Hasselback are identical twins. 2) He‚Äôs one of the nicest guys you will ever meet and gives some of the straightest answers of any coach out there. 3) He is a very sharp offensive mind.
The problem is that it hasn‚Äôt translated into good play calling. The Fizz had a chance to talk to Hackett extensively after the game and ask him the same questions readers have been asking us. Where are the screens? Why so many personnel changes? Why can‚Äôt Nassib get in a rhythm?
Hackett said the screens are still in the playbook but haven‚Äôt ‚Äúpopped‚Äù like they‚Äôve wanted to this year. Plus, against USF they would have been hard to execute because the Bulls run so many complex schemes on the defensive line (stunts and twists) they are difficult to block for. But you still have run a few of them to get Antwon Bailey in space with blockers. D-Lineman won‚Äôt fly up field to Nassib if they think a screen might be thrown behind them. It‚Äôs football 101.
Hackett also told The Fizz the constant switching of personnel is an attempt to maximize each players abilities and put them in situations where they can succeed. Dropped balls are not Hackett‚Äôs fault. The argument against this philosophy is it breaks up the continuity and rhythm of an offense and specifically the quarterback. Why doesn’t SU run more hurry-up? Hackett‚Äôs response: ‚ÄúEveryone see‚Äôs the no huddle and ooh‚Äôs and ah‚Äôs, but that was against a 2-minute prevent defense too. That doesn‚Äôt work against a regular defense.‚Äù Fair point, but for two years Nassib has been better when the pace picks up. Does that mean SU should turn into Oregon? No, but the lackadaisical pace with which they play certainly isn‚Äôt working.
- Mikhail Marinovich is as gone as his mustache.
The world cried when Mikhail shaved one of the best mustaches we had seen since Rollie Fingers. 1) It was an awesome mustache. 2) It was seemingly the first time Orange fans had heard Marinovich‚Äôs name all year. Outside of Rutgers when the defense put on a show (in a loss), Marinovich has been a complete non-factor. He hasn‚Äôt gotten to the quarterback. He hasn‚Äôt even pressured the pocket. This puts even more pressure on Chan Jones who is facing more double teams since he‚Äôs the only player in the front 7 opponents have to watch for on every snap.
Silver lining time. SU has two weeks to regroup and is 3-0 off a bye under Marrone (4-0 if you include the Pinstripe Bowl) and Cincinnati was dealt a devastating injury to its quarterback. Recruiting also continues to pick up major momentum. As for the moron who wore a bag over his head Friday night, stop it. Do you want Groobers back? Three years ago this program was the laughing stock of the country. Yes SU is in last place in the nation’s worst BCS conference, but some perspective people. No more bags. Or The Fizz will find you.
Posted: Craig Hoffman