Basketball season is almost here. Unfortunately, by almost here, I mean three weeks away. That means the Syracuse faithful are subject to watching the Orange play another week of terrible football. Last Saturday’s result? A 38-14 drubbing at the hands of Wake Forest. It’s getting more and more difficult each week to pick out the bright spots, but we might as well try. And as always, the stock market is still moving.
JaCobian Morgan: Seven-for-seven. For 91 yards and a touchdown. These are the only stats you need to know about the freshman quarterback’s performance against the Demon Deacons. Morgan led a four-minute-long drive from the SU 20-yard-line to the promised land, and was in control for all of those four minutes. He looked like a real presence in the pocket, had zip on his throws, and tossed a dime on the run, none of which Rex Culpepper has done in his three games as a starter. He also threw a touchdown pass to a tight end. Who knew that was possible in this offense?! No matter how hard head coach Dino Babers tries to discredit Morgan’s success as “7-on-7” (which no, it wasn’t, because there were 11 players on the field in a real game) where Wake “was dropping back” (false, the Deacs brought a six-man blitz when Morgan rolled out and found Sharod Johnson). Morgan should start against BC this weekend.
Cooper Lutz: In August, nobody would’ve thought Lutz would even get a chance to see playing time on offense, let alone carry the ball 15 times to the tune of 5.4 yards per carry. But the Reading, P.A., native made the most of his first career start last weekend. Lutz didn’t display any outstanding athletic ability, but hit the open holes, and kept his feet moving after first contact. He was the second biggest positive from Saturday. It helped that Wake was in prevent mode for most of the game.
Tyrell Richards: After a wacky offseason and a start to the season hampered by injuries, Richards finally made some noise last weekend. The linebacker recorded five tackles, a sack, and two quarterback hurries. The most notable of those was a third down sack on Wake’s opening drive. Richards powered Deacs tackle Je’Vionte Nash backwards, then skirted around him and powered Sam Hartman to the ground to force a field goal. However, Richards did receive medical attention in the second quarter. Hopefully he can stay healthy moving forward.
Rex Culpepper (for the third week in a row): The jig is up. Enough of the excuses, Dino. Culpepper “knows the offense” because he’s been here four years longer than the freshmen have. The play-calling isn’t changing regardless. The offense itself isn’t running smoothly because Culpepper makes the same mistakes week after week. His interceptions are bad. He’s forcing balls into windows that aren’t there. His throws are wobbly and off-target. He’s not a running threat like most SU fans originally thought. Unless the fifth-year senior is planning to stay another year and Babers is 100% confident he’ll unseat Tommy DeVito and beat out Morgan, Dillion Markiewicz and Justin Lamson for the starting job, there is NO POINT in playing Rex Culpepper.
Aman Greenwood: Wake wideout Jaquarii Roberson had seven catches for 130 yards and a touchdown, largely due to the fact that he was shepherded by Greenwood for a large part of the day. Greenwood looks, well, rather green. He simply gets beat by higher-skilled players. However, it is important to put Greenwood’s performance in context. He is a freshman, and the coaching staff probably had no intention of playing him this year until 25% of the team got injured. Most freshmen don’t come in and immediately play like world-beaters. The SU secondary for the most part of this season has been the exception to that rule. Greenwood is going to take his lumps this year, but he’ll be a better player down the road because of it.
Tackling: Syracuse made Kenneth Walker III and Clyde Beal-Smith look like Herschel Walker and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Wake’s yardage totals were lower than SU’s past couple opponents, but the fundamentals still were absent.
Three weeks, ladies and gentlemen. Three weeks.