Orange Fizz


How Syracuse Should Counter Pittsburgh’s Defense

“They blitz and blitz and blitz… And they’re crazy about it.”

That’s a cut from Dino Babers scouting report on Pittsburgh, provided in his Monday presser. The Panthers have brought pressure to great effect this season. They are 7th in the country in sack percentage.

That stat should have alarm bells going off in your head like crazy, because Syracuse is just as bad at preventing the sack. The Orange are 121st in QB sacks against percentage. Yes, only nine D1 teams are worse than SU at protecting against the sack. They represent 11.82% of Syracuse dropbacks. The Orange have struggled very noticably against the heavy blitz.

Pittsburgh is like NC State on defense, only better. The Wolfpack had NFL caliber defensive tackle Larell Murchison, who blew up SU’s protections last Thursday. Pitt has a star DT in Jaylen Twyman, who, like Murchison, is averaging a sack per game. This is a very bad matchup.

Pittsburgh is also a top-20 run-stopper, so don’t expect Moe Neal or Abdul Adams to provide relief for the passing game. Syracuse needs to operate on a steady diet of quick passes. The Orange must rely on their athletic receivers to pick up yards after catch.

It needs to be hitch routes, curl routes, slant routes, quick ins and outs— anything that takes less than three seconds to run. It’s time for Syracuse to get realistic and throw in the white towel on protection. There is no way Tommy DeVito, assuming he starts, is going to have time in the pocket against the Panthers. The redshirt sophomore needs to shorten his internal clock and get the ball out with urgency. The offensive line is not getting better overnight, so SU needs to adapt their offense.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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