The Orange defense is in some trouble. With all of the players last year’s team lost through either the NFL or graduation, a lot of questions are surrounding Scott Shafer’s defense going into the season. On Tuesday, one of those questions got answered.
Ron Thompson, the leader of the defensive line, has been cleared to play in Syracuse’s season opener against Rhode Island this Friday, Coach Shafer told media members on Tuesday. Thompson had been dealing with a leg injury for the past few weeks, and wore a protective boot up until last Thursday.
While Thompson most likely won’t be needed for the Orange to get a win over Rhode Island, it’s still important for him to get some snaps under his belt in the team’s first game. This team, and especially the defense, is in need of some leadership, and Thompson is one of those leaders. Zaire Franklin has taken the reigns as the leader of the linebackers and a general defensive leader, but he is still inexperienced as a sophomore. Franklin even said earlier this month that Thompson is the most important player on the defense.
With the state of Syracuse’s secondary, the defensive line will have to put pressure on the quarterback to get stops. With Thompson the line gets much stronger than it would have been without him, and his leadership can help the other players grow. The Rhode Island game on Friday gives Thompson the chance to get a feel of his teammates and start to find a groove which will be needed when the Orange reaches the meat of its schedule.
Posted: Nathan Dickinson