Halfway through Syracuse‚Äôs first season in the ACC, the Orange is 3-4.
When the team has lost, it has lost badly. When it has won, the games have been blowout wins.¬†¬†Syracuse has two 50-plus offensive performances, and the defense has given up 48-plus points three times.
If someone said inconsistency is the problem, they‚Äôre absolutely right. The last two games have been tossups. The NC State game wasn‚Äôt one where someone could have guessed Syracuse fully confident; the same was said for Georgia Tech.
It‚Äôs hard to tell what type of team this is. If the offense is good one week, the defense is pretty much terrible the next.
Now that this season is halfway through the books, let‚Äôs take a look at how Scott Shafer is doing in his first season at the helm of the Orange.
Shafer has coached three great games against Wagner, Tulane, and NC State. Perhaps the most impressive came against NC State, a conference opponent and a game the Orange could have lost. Credit his defense. He‚Äôs a defensive-minded coach, so one could expect the defense may not be the problem. They have been fairly consistent for most of the season.
It‚Äôs the offense that is bad. Shafer is the head coach. He‚Äôs responsible for everything from special teams to offense and defense. Syracuse does have a very tough schedule, especially with those two early non-conference games against Penn State and Northwestern. Orange fans may not even have an interest in watching the Florida State with the great football it is playing and the poor football the Orange is playing. Shafer needs to find a way to work with his quarterback, whether it‚Äôs Terrel Hunt or Drew Allen, and help that guy find a favorite receiver. Right now, Hunt‚Äôs favorite person to give the ball to is Jerome Smith. He can‚Äôt continue to carry the team. Hunt needs options‚Äîand he has options.
He is having trouble utilizing them properly.
It‚Äôs all about trust. If he has trust in his receivers, good things will come.
He can still lead this team to a bowl game. It‚Äôs not mathematically impossible.¬†It may seem impossible on paper since there is a game on the road against Florida State, a team that could very well compete for a national championship. This team has five more games. That means it has five chances to get to six wins and be bowl eligible.
Posted by: Austin Pollack