There has been a lot of questions asked about the Syracuse running backs. Who would step up as the second guy behind Prince Tyson Gulley? Could Adonis Ameen-Moore make an impact after getting virtually no playing time last year? We needs more answers, but look to this weekend for even more separation.
The Orange admitted this past week they overlooked Nova. With the size and strength differential, this should’ve never even been a game. A properly motivated SU squad would’ve owned the line of scrimmage, and wore the Wildcats down quickly. It didn’t happen, so now it’s time for someone to step up against a good CMU team.
If Ameen-Moore makes an impact, he’s poised to become the second option. But he didn’t do much to convince anyone of that with his performance against Villanova. He had 10 carries for just 19 yards and a touchdown. He must be much more efficient. He cannot take three or four carries to punch in a touchdown in a first-and-goal situation, like against Villanova.
The race to be the second back on the depth chart appears wide open. Ameen-Moore has the inside track because of his touches in Week 1. George Morris and Devante McFarlene had just six carries combined. Morris didn’t gain a yard on five carries, and McFarlene only got one touch.
Central Michigan is not especially good against the run. They have allowed an average of 128.5 yards against Purdue and Chattanooga. The Orange should take advantage of this, especially when Terrel Hunt is factored in as a weapon on the ground. The Orange also needs to be able to go in and push around the Central Michigan defensive line, a unit that has just four players who weigh more than 295 pounds. The Orange could get Nick Robinson and Omari Palmer back this week to help its offensive line. The Orange needs to use its big guys to win the battle in the trenches.
Another reason the Orange needs to get back to the ground is Terrel Hunt. He should still be the starting quarterback, but there are still questions surrounding him. How will Hunt come back after the ejection? The best thing George McDonald can do for his quarterback is run the ball. This will open up the passing game, and allow him to play more comfortably. It can make play action viable, and some of the passes easier.
So who steps up this week as the secondary threat behind PTG? Ameen-Moore and Hunt. Hunt has the ability to break off big runs. Ameen-Moore will be one of the bigger backs CMU sees this season. The offense just doesn’t look the same when there is only one main option. Whether it’s Hunt, GMII, McFarlane or AAM, Syracuse needs answers from its backfield.
Posted: Seth Goldberg