I'm waking up this morning, realizing that the state of the Syracuse football program is so bad that we might not win a game this season. After a 42-28 loss to Akron yesterday, I think it's a legitimate question.
Some thoughts and observations from the game....
....Cam Dantley, even though he's extremely limited, is more equipped to run the offense that Mitch Browning is employing. Still, I don't think it matters too much. Because how likely is Browning to be around next year?
....Why did Doug Hogue start at running back? If he was your starter, why did he only play two series? And if you determined that you needed that big powerful back from the tailback slot, and that he looked the best in practice, why didn't you at least use him in short yardage situations the rest of the game, when his bulk would be an asset?
....Not that I'm really suggesting that Hogue should get carries from the tailback slot. Boonah Brinkley looks fantastic, and Delone Carter looks good, but still a bit rusty. I'm confident with them the rest of the season. With that said, some of the credit has to goto the offensive line, which did a nice job. True freshman Nick Lepak was a part of that group.
....Mike Sanford was also 7-29 in his first three years and a game entering last night's game at Utah. So I guess we're on par with UNLV.
....Back to Hogue and the running backs. How long can you afford to keep Hogue on offense? With Brinkley and Carter seeming to be 1-2 at the moment, and the four true freshman running backs, three of which are either highly touted or have drawn rave reviews, it just seems that the present situation for Hogue at RB, and the future opportunity as well, seem clouded. I thought he ran tentatively yesterday, a trait we saw a lot of last year.
....So is the argument that Greg Robinson needed his players really a valid argument on defense? I mean aren't they his players? And I don't think there has been anything real good about the Robinson era, but the play of the defense in his first year, was certainly pretty strong most of the time. It really hasn't been very good since then, and it was awful yesterday.
....I thought when Randy McKinnon got hurt that it would really be a blow to Syracuse. But Paul Chiarra stepped in and really did a nice job. At least in run support. He actually looked like the best tackler out there. Now maybe the Orange was concerned about how he would stand up in pass coverage if they blitzed, but I was impressed with what I could see from Chiarra. The senior led the team with 9 tackles, Jake Flaherty also had nine.
....Was Nico Scott hurt? He started at the one corner, but we never seemed to see him after the early stages. I also saw a lot more of Ryan Howard yesterday than I ever have before. I'd like to see less of Ryan Howard. Dorian Graham, Matt Reid, anyone else as the nickel back, but less of Ryan Howard. (Robinson said afterwards that Scott was hurt in the first quarter)
....I'm starting to be a fan of Anthony Perkins. I think he probably needs to be more consistent, but he does make some plays every now and again. I see the promise of him developing into something to compliment Art Jones.
....Obviously, you had to like the usage of the tight end. Mike Owen had a breakout day and Nick Provo caught the one touchdown pass. Again, I'd like to see more use of the wide receivers, and someone other than Donte Davis as a true receiving threat. Davis is solid and will be our top receiver this year, but Lobdell, Sales or somebody needs to be a threat on the other side. I don't even remember Dantley trying to get the ball to anybody other than a tight end or Davis.
....Ten more games of Greg Robinson, can you stand it? And can somebody get him to take Darryl Gross with him on the way out of town.