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Starting Fast is Instrumental to Syracuse’s Success against Louisville

As the saying goes, when one team scores more points than the other they are likely to win the game. But, in all seriousness, scoring first and starting fast is also essential to a team’s success. Especially for a team like Syracuse, whose passing game and downfield attack are still a question mark, not putting yourself in defined passing situations is critical.

Flashing back to the Orange’s 5-7 2021, in those five wins, SU scored first in three of them and even led by double-digits in two. In the seven losses, the Orange only scored first once, and even though a handful of those games were decided by one score, if Syracuse had gotten on the board first and started fast it changed the complexion of the game.

Looking at the strengths of Syracuse’s offense, despite Robert Anae and Jason Beck’s elite air attack in their years at Virginia, Garrett Shrader is not Brennan Armstrong (yet) and it remains to be seen what kind of dropback passer he is over a full season, and how consistent he can be. Sean Tucker is the focal point of the offense, and it needs to stay that way.

In those losses that SU did not score first, Tucker had some of his worst games of the season. Games against Rutgers, Louisville, NC State, and Pittsburgh were Tucker’s worst of the season, and the Orange got blown out in all of them because they did not start strong, and even if they did score first as they did against Pitt, it did not matter.

Tucker needs to be established, either in the run game or screen passing game. One of the improvements that evaluators want to see from Tucker this season is his pass protection and receiving ability. Everyone knows about his breakaway speed and ability to break tackles on a consistent basis.

But, can he catch the ball, either in the flat or over the middle of the field, and hold up against blitzing linebackers in pass protection. Putting Tucker in positions to succeed early in games, either in the run game or passing game can lead to various successful drives for the Orange. That’s the job of Dino Babers and Anae when calling plays against Louisville on Saturday.

It would be malpractice and setting your players up to fail if Sean Tucker was not established early in games. Your best player should be touching the ball early and often and putting pressure on the opposing defense. If Shrader comes out slinging the ball around the field and Louisville can’t cover SU’s receivers, good on him, but that remains to be seen.

Getting Tucker involved early, and starting your entire offense early is how SU, as a home underdog, can give itself a chance to beat Louisville on Saturday. A fast start will put pressure on Malik Cunningham and the Louisville offense to keep up and ease the pressure on your own defense to play with a lead. Starting fast with Sean Tucker is how Syracuse pulls out a win.

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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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