Syracuse fans may already be licking their lips, yearning to see Tommy DeVito in the pocket. They might be dreaming about the rockets that will soon be launched to a deep, experienced receiver group. And they should be excited, there’s a lot to look forward to. But not enough attention is being paid to a tag-team tandem that will go down in the history books of Syracuse football.
If Alton Robinson and Kendall Coleman both match their sack totals from a year ago, they’ll place third and sixth on Syracuse’s all-time sacks list. Only SU greats Tim Green and Dwight Freeney would have higher sack totals than Robinson.
With so much time devoted to salivating over the Orange’s offensive production, it’s time to tip our collective hats to the defensive side of the ball. The meteoric rise of Kendall Coleman is nothing short of remarkable. In his first two years in Orange, Coleman recorded just 1.5 sacks. Last year he took down 10 unsuspecting quarterbacks. Maybe this year the ACC will recognize his ability to swerve by onlooking tackles who can barely backtrack before getting burned…again.
As for his partner in crime, Robinson has been a wrecking force since he first arrived to New York. Not only did Robinson record 10 sacks, he also padded his stats with 17 tackles for loss last season. Not many teams can boast an edge rusher who also excels in the run game. Robinson was second in the conference in TFL’s, just one extra bruising hit behind Miami’s Gerald Willis III.
But enough of the past. With another year of experience, Coleman and Robinson will only be even better next season. And I’d imagine they’ll come with an appetite to feast on some inexperienced tackles. They’ll have their first power five chance against Maryland, who is tasked with replacing both offensive tackles from last year. Then it’s on to Clemson, who Coleman and Robinson actually did very well against last year. The speedsters combined for two sacks, a fumble recovery, and a couple TFL’s. And the Tigers are tasked with replacing OT Mitch Hyatt.
In ACC play, Coleman and Robinson will face eight first time starting tackles. And you can bet, just like Syracuse fans, Dino Babers is drooling at his desk, envisioning the beasts he has prowling across the defensive line and into the opponent’s backfield.