Orange Fizz


How Syracuse is Preparing for Army with Its Injury Issues

Syracuse football is off to another hot start in 2023, very similar to 2022, but that isn’t without losing a couple of its most important players for the season, just like it did last year in September. The Orange are down star pass catcher Oronode Gadsden II, who suffered a serious foot injury against Western Michigan, and starting right tackle David Wohlabaugh, Jr., who also got hurt against WMU.

Without Gadsden against Purdue, the main beneficiaries and targets of Garrett Shrader in the passing game because Damien Alford and Donovan Brown, while LeQuint Allen was also featured as a key contributor out of the backfield in the receiving game. Those three guys were the only players who caught a pass in SU’s 35-20 win over Purdue last Saturday. But, Umari Hatcher and D’Marcus Adams each had chances to bring in long balls that went through their hands on plays that could have been touchdowns.

“Catching the ball would be great,” Babers said earlier this week about his wide receivers.

Isaiah Jones was a player people looked at as someone who could step up and play a different role compared to Alford, Brown, or other pass catchers but he and Shrader never connected against Purdue despite them hooking up for a couple of touchdowns against Colgate in week 1. 

Another name that hasn’t been mentioned or seen this season is Swiss army knife Trebor Pena, who has played a big role for SU over the last couple of years in the passing game and as a kick returner. So, if he comes back from the injury that has kept him off the field and the depth chart through the first three games of the season, he could be an option.

“We have other guys that play that position beside Oronde,” Babers said earlier in the week. “Donovan Brown is also in that position. If Trebor Pena comes back, he’s part of that position as well.”

Outside of the skill position players, Syracuse’s offensive line was a topic of concern coming into the year with the turnover from last season, especially losing left tackle Matthew Bergeron to the NFL. 

“For the most part they were OK,” Babers said about the offensive line against Purdue. “That is a difficult front. They haven’t allowed anyone to run the ball. They are stout and they are stout for a reason. They did what they are supposed to do. They stopped the run. That makes them vulnerable in other areas.”

The big change on the line coming into the week was the first career start at right tackle for Mark Petry, a major challenge making your first career start in primetime on the road against a Big Ten team.

“He played an OK game and now we have to see where he goes from here,” Babers said about his new right tackle earlier this week. “People get to watch him on tape and he’s either going to get better or he’s not going to get better. The big thing is what happens this game and what happens games after this game.”

The Orange take on a Black Knights team that has sacked the quarterback seven times through three games. Syracuse and Army kickoff at noon on Saturday at noon and we’ll have full coverage at The Fizz on Twitter @OrangeFizz and all over

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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