ACC Football Media Days are almost upon us, and all 14 schools in the conference will send their head coach along with three student-athletes to meet with the media in Charlotte. Here are three big things to look out for next week, from both a Syracuse and conference-wide perspective.
1. JASON BECK’S OFFENSE
Garrett Shrader, Oronde Gadsden, and Marlowe Wax are the three players headed to Charlotte along with Dino Babers. Defensively, we shouldn’t expect to see too many changes since Rocky Long is the architect of the 3-3-5 defense Tony White oversaw last season. And yes, even though Beck worked under now-departed Robert Anae for years, we shouldn’t expect to see the exact same system. Anae’s offense was very pass-heavy and didn’t give Sean Tucker as much involvement as he probably should have had. That doesn’t mean Beck’s offense won’t be pass-first, but it could be much more running-back-inclusive.
Now that LeQuint Allen is set to play (another interesting topic to hear about), SU’s passing game might see more running back usage. Allen has shiftiness and route-running savvy, two things we didn’t see a lot of from Tucker down the stretch last season. We’ll have our ears perked for what Shrader, Gadsden, and Babers have to say about how players are adjusting to Beck’s schemes and how it’ll look come September 2.
2. THE NEW SCHEDULING FORMAT
The ACC has abandoned the Atlantic and Coastal division format of the past. Each team in the conference has three permanent rivals that they will see every year, while it’ll be an every-other-year basis when it comes to facing the remaining 10 schools. There should be a ton of familiarity with the rivals you see every year, but the opposite should be true. Especially this season.
If we’re to use Syracuse as an example, it faces North Carolina and Georgia Tech on the road this year. The Orange saw both teams in the 1-10 2020 season overshadowed by COVID, but before then hadn’t seen the Tar Heels since 2018, 2013 for the Yellow Jackets. The new scheduling format is overall a positive change- it will be good to see different teams- but it could take some getting used to.
3. CONFERENCE REALIGNMENT RUMORS
This is the big one. The first wave of teams in this round of conference realignment officially made the switch earlier this summer. It’s next year when the big ones- UCLA, USC, Texas, and Oklahoma- will jump to either the Big Ten or the SEC. As of right now, no team is set to join or leave the ACC. Yet.
ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips will speak to the media on Tuesday morning. Will he be questioned about what is being dubbed “The Magnificent 7“? Representatives from Clemson, Florida State, Miami, North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, and Virginia Tech could get asked about it as well. At a bare minimum, this creates an unsettling tone for the other seven ACC schools.
It should be a fascinating few days in Charlotte as we learn more about what to expect from Syracuse in 2023 as well as its future in the ACC (and the future of the conference). Stay locked to @OrangeFizz on Twitter as well as orangefizz.net for content from ACC Media Days.