Thursday, October 20, 2011

Six Questions for Orange44 about Cuse/WVU

WVU hits the road to take on Syracuse in a revenge game from last season. The game is mysteriously on a Friday night on ESPN. You know, good ole Big East marketing at its finest. Recently we sent some questions to BH from Orange44 about Syracuse, and the matchup tomorrow night against the Mountaineers.

1. Syracuse has shown plenty of potential, but it seems that they have struggled to put a full game together. How much of a concern is this?

BH: It’s a huge concern, especially the way Syracuse overachieved last season. Syracuse has as many offensive weapons this season, as well as a quarterback with another year of experience, and drives are stalling in the fourth quarter. Either Syracuse is failing to adjust to other teams, or they are just plain tired by the end. You’d think that wouldn’t be the case however, since they have now played and won several overtime games. Either way, despite being 4-2 there is plenty to be worried about.

2. The defense looks to finally be getting healthy. How much better can that unit be?

BH: They can be way better. Chandler Jones is back in the starting lineup after several games out with a lower leg injury. That should greatly increase the containing potential of the defensive line, as well as increasing the pressure on the quarterback, something Syracuse has lacked most of the season so far. The secondary is fairly experienced, coming back from last year, but haven’t played like it. They need to get better quickly. They are fairly capable of one-on-one coverage, but mental mistakes have allowed several long pass plays all season.

3. Is Doug Marron satisfied with Ryan Nassib's progression?

BH: On the one hand it sounds like it. He is very confident in him, and he is nowhere close to starting someone else. But on the other hand, he calls very few pass plays that test defenses, and honestly very few passes that aren’t short slants or short rollouts. Either way, he has regressed in the last couple of games, but he does have a solid arm, and the occasional ability to run for first downs. Overall he has to be pleased.

4. Syracuse beat WVU last year, but against a different offensive scheme. How will they try to slowdown the new offense?

BH: Pressuring the quarterback will be key, as well as stopping the run like they have been. The key to beat Syracuse is through the air, and if the defense is having a good day, then WVU is in trouble. If Syracuse limits long passes they will have a real chance for another upset. Causing turnovers like they did last year will have to be key. But making Geno uncomfortable like he was last season is truly the key.

5. It's a random Friday night game. Will the Dome be packed?

BH: The best answer is probably. It’s not a nooner, so the student section normally would be extremely fired up and ready to go. The only problem is it’s “Family Weekend”. In favor of a raucous student section, it will be fairly muted with families everywhere, where most freshman will have taken their families just so they aren’t having awkward conversations in their dorm rooms. So there should be about 42k in there. But it probably won’t get too loud.

6. With Syracuse on its way to the ACC, will the WVU-SU rivalry die?

BH: As we know it, probably. With essentially only a few games to schedule every season once ACC play starts, Syracuse will probably not want to take on WVU every season still. They will want to schedule easier games. Maybe once in a while they will play just to see if that trophy will go back and forth, but it is probably done. It’s been fun though.

A big thanks to BH for helping us out. And be sure to check out Orange44 for the best analysis of Syracuse athletics.

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