Orange Fizz


Why Brady Denaburg Is Syracuse’s Biggest X-Factor

There is so much to talk about when it comes to Syracuse football right now. From strong recruiting classes, to the hype around Kyle McCord and the offense, and even a polarizing 2024 schedule, orange may as well be the new black. But, there’s one area that hasn’t been talked about as much that could make or break Fran Brown’s inaugural season. That being, Brady Denaburg and the special teams unit.

Back in February, the Orange hired James Vollono, a man with over 20 years of coaching experience, to become the new special teams coordinator. Vollono comes over from Troy, where the Trojans took home back-to-back Sun Belt Conference championships under his leadership on special teams. Vollono enters a special teams room at Syracuse with not much roster turnover, but where he could have his own impact.

“I want to relay Fran Brown’s messages,” said Vollono. “Detailed, Accountable, Relentless, Tough. We want to put the R in that on special teams, we want to be relentless.”

Vollono enters his SU career with a top 20 punter in the nation in Jack Stonehouse. However, he has some work cut out for him with his kicker.

This season, junior Brady Denaburg will be the one summoned when SU needs the ball to go through the uprights on fourth down. In his sophomore season, the Florida native earned the position of starting kicker and eventually became one of the team’s captains. Denaburg had the lowest field goal percentage of qualified kickers in the ACC in 2023, missing only 10 of 16 field goals but connecting on 36 of 37 PATs. Former head coach Dino Babers put a lot of faith in Denaburg, as seen by the fact that three of the six misses occurred from distances greater than fifty yards.

Under the new regime of Brown and Vollono, major emphasis has been placed on Denaburg’s technique throughout spring and summer camp. The cohort aims to build on the confidence of the young kicker.

“With [Denaburg], it’s about focusing on one thing at a time,” Vollono said. “Everyone can see he can kick the ball a country mile, right, we gotta get him to hit the checkdown.”

But that’s just the thing: Syracuse fans are going to need to have a lot of confidence in Denaburg this season. The roster as it’s currently constructed is very strong, especially on the offensive side of the ball. But when McCord and company are driving down the field and are unable to convert, Denaburg will need to come through and put points on the board. If Syracuse finds itself in a lot of close games like it did last season, the kicker’s performance could have a crucial impact on wins and losses. SU fans are not going to be happy if Denaburg’s struggles cost them a bowl game or even a shot at the ACC Championship.

So as we get closer and closer to the 2024 campaign, the special teams unit will do all it can to perform its best. The kicker is an extremely important position on a football team, and Syracuse will need nothing but the best from its junior if it wants to exceed its season expectations.

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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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