I’ll say it one more time: 2014-15 was not the best of school years to be a sports fan on the Syracuse University campus. It was supposed to be a down year for Syracuse in the first place, but the Orange football and basketball teams failed to meet even the lowest of expectations.
“The football team’s gonna go to another bowl game!”
“We’re ready for another tournament run!”
How’d that one work out for you?
“The athletic department definitely won’t get severely punished by the NCAA”
Alright, I guess nobody saw that one coming, but I digress. There’s plenty of things in need of fixing during the next year for Syracuse athletics, and when I have a lot of things that need to get done I like to make a to-do list. So without further ado, here is the Syracuse athletics to-do list for the next year.
1. Clean up the program
Addressing these sanctions is obviously the top priority. I don’t care how it gets done, but Syracuse needs to rid itself of the scandal. Academic fraud and improper benefits have made just saying the school’s name leave a bad taste in your mouth. The first steps are already done; the AD is out and the entire staff is getting a makeover, but in the next year Syracuse really needs to take a toothbrush to the whole ordeal. How? By winning. If Syracuse can look unfazed by the scholarship restrictions imposed by the NCAA then who’s to say they ever happened? The sooner Syracuse basketball gets back to its winning ways, the sooner people stop talking about how crippling these sanctions are on the school.
2. Choose a quarterback
The quarterback carousel was as lively as ever in 2014, with 6 different players attempting a pass. For 2015, Scott Shafer needs to find a quarterback he likes and commit to him. Be it Terrell Hunt, A.J. Long, Austin Wilson or even Mitch Kimble, I’ve had to keep track of far too many names under center. I understand that the options aren’t what you’d call “good”, but that doesn’t mean you get to not choose. Injuries forced the transitions last year, but hopefully this year that won’t be the case. I don’t care who it is anymore, but someone needs to decide on a starting quarterback.
3. Teach Kaleb Joseph the defense
This one may be more of a personal pet peeve, but that doesn’t make it any less valid. Kaleb Joseph isn’t Michael Carter-Williams of Tyler Ennis, and I think that’s something we’ve all accepted by now. That being said, he’s still really bad at defense. Is it just that he’s not fully adjusted to the 2-3 zone yet? Perhaps, but Joseph has left some shooters open at times when a missed rotation doesn’t even explain it. Not that missing rotations is an excuse, he should have had those down when he stepped on campus. Does he not know who he’s playing for? I don’t know why Kaleb Joseph can’t seem to get the zone into his head, but the vast majority of his offseason needs to be invested in figuring it out.
There are plenty of other things that I could complain about. Who knows, maybe there will even be a Part 2 to this list if some of those things upset me enough. But for now, I think this does just fine. You’ve got the situation with the NCAA sanctions, plus what I believe is the biggest problem facing both Syracuse football and basketball. I’m sure I’ll have more for the school to do by the time it get’s all of these things done.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson