There’s plenty of concern that the college football season will not end up happening. Analysts and influencers around the country are starting to speak in pessimistic terms. But plenty of sportsbooks are offering odds on the NFL and college football campaigns this fall. You can keep up with sports and the changing odds of the season with many sites. If there is a season, where will Syracuse end up? One of our lead staffers, Jaron May, took aim at some of the most pressing questions on offense.
Overall, how will the offense compare to the 2019 season?
Well, it’s hard to be as bad as Syracuse was offensively last season. The Orange ranked 102 out of 130 FBS teams in terms of offensive efficiency according to Football Outsiders. Plus, SU was third-to-last in the FBS in sacks allowed per game in 2019. The offensive line was atrocious and barely afforded Tommy DeVito enough time to take a breath when he dropped back. With the majority of the line coming back, especially Airon Servais and Carlos Vettorello, Syracuse should be improved on that front. The Orange hired Sterlin Gilbert as their new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in the off season. So pairing his dynamic new offense with DeVito should result in something good. DeVito has shown flashes that he can be a top quarterback in the ACC if he has enough time in the pocket. Also, based on the eye test from looking at recent pictures of him, he added a lot of muscle over the off season. The running back room should be solid with Abdul Adams getting the bulk of the carries. The one worry for the Syracuse offense in 2020 is the situation at receiver. Trishton Jackson prematurely left for the NFL, leaving a gap on the outside. Junior, Taj Harris will have to take over as the go-to guy and Aaron Hacket will have to be a reliable option in the red zone. If those guys can do that, the Syracuse offense should be in a better situation that it was last year. Again, it’s pretty hard to do worse.
What do you expect from the QB position in 2020?
DeVito has been touted as the “Golden Child” ever since he stepped foot on campus. He was Dino Babers’ first big recruit and he really hasn’t lived up to the hype. It’s not completely DeVito’s fault, however. The offensive line made it extremely difficult for him to be able to do anything last year. He was sacked more than any other QB in the country. Some of that came from poor decision making, but most of it came from the o-line that seemed like it was made of paper. DeVito has a cannon of an arm and is sneaky good on his feet. He is fast and fits well in the Syracuse system. DeVito could honestly and objectively be one of the best quarterbacks in the ACC if he is given enough time. There were times that he made bad reeds last year, but most first season starting quarterbacks do that. Now having two years in the system, a should-be improved offensive line, and a strong arm, DeVito should have a good season. The only worry is who he is throwing it too.
How do you see the workload at RB being distributed?
With Moe Neal not there, Syracuse has an open race in the running back room. It is expected that Abdul Adams, the redshirt senior transfer from Oklahoma, gets the bulk of the carries. We haven’t seen too much from him and when we have it hasn’t been eye-catching, but he has a lot of talent. Given the reigns, he could be a candidate for breakout player of the year. Adams will be the guy to get the Orange down the field, but in the red zone it will be the Jarveon Howard show. He’s not much bigger than Adams, but he is a bruiser. Don’t be surprised if redshirt freshman Jawhar Jordan and redshirt sophomore Cooper Lutz also get some carries here and there. Oh, and of course the rhino, Chris Elmore, will see some touches when Syracuse only needs a few inches.