Bud Poliquin wrote about the Carrier Dome’s inherent home field advantages earlier in the week. And he was right.
“Mix in that low Dome roof . . . with that flat, dry, carpeted Dome surface built for speed and offense . . . with that collection of 49,000 Dome seats crowding the field in their claustrophobic way . . . with that dead Dome air which makes mere breathing a chore . . . with that Dome noise which can’t drift off anywhere and therefore can make hearing those quarterback audibles so difficult . . . and, well, you’ve got the most unique set of physical circumstances in the country.”
The Dome is ripe with potential. The controlled conditions specifically could and should be used by the Orange to create an uptempo attack. It’s the only indoor environment in all of the BCS, so why SU hasn’t historically used that to its advantage is anybody’s guess. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, the Dome was the Loud House, a brutally chaotic place to play. The turf was fast, the noise was loud, the temperatures were hot.
The Dome was a tough place to play because SU had a good football team, consistently ranked in the top 25 and big names coming through: McPherson, Graves, McNabb. But since SU football has dropped off, the fans have been slow to buy in, making the Dome half-empty and quiet for many games.
Syracuse has always favored a slow, grinding offense instead of a fast-paced aerial attack. Why? Think about Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense or Oklahoma State’s spread formation. Wouldn’t it be perfect to implement inside the Dome? It would be the ultimate recruiting tool as well. Attract East Coast kids who want to put up big numbers and play in a high-octane offense. Sure, it’s not easy to find the quarterback to spread the ball around. Those are much easier plucked in Texas and Florida. But if you land say an A.J. Long, or even a Ryan Nassib, then let him turn it loose.
Instead of a half-empty Dome being an Achilles Heel of the program, turn it into a strength. And when Poliquin cites an exasperated Doug Marrone lamenting his lacking homefield advantage its also Doug’s fault. He preferred a ground attack, a heavy dose of 17-14 games. The Dome is built to be a fast track and conducive to a high-powered, high-flying offense. Unfortunately, no coach has figured that out yet.