Will Syracuse football coach Scott Shafer be given
Will Syracuse football coach Scott Shafer be given the time to see if his young talent develops
“What we’ve got now with the young guys?” defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough said. “Oh my god, when they grow up. next year, sollevamento del mento we’ll have a seasoned group of guys.”
Syracuse is 3 4 with its two most recent losses including back breaking, 19 play drives from opponents in the fourth quarter. The Orange was a face mask away from avoiding triple overtime against Virginia and a fake punt away from having a chance to knock off No. 25 Pittsburgh at the end of regulation on Saturday.
But the defeats bring Shafer’s win loss record since the start of last season to 6 13. The Orange has only beaten two Football Bowl Subdivision programs in that span, Wake Forest (twice) and Central Michigan (twice), and some in the fanbase are calling for a change at the helm.
So how long should the leash be for a staff whose first recruiting class is currently in its sophomore year?
“That’s Coach Shafe’s decision,” SU offensive coordinator Tim Lester said. “Our job is to get the guys better every week and the people that are making the decisions are the people who are going to understand that. And that’s really all you can control.”
To better understand just how reliant on young talent the Orange is, here are a couple statistics:
Syracuse has seven true freshmen on its two deep depth chart, including starting quarterback Eric Dungey and running back Jordan Fredericks. Nineteen players are in their first or second year of college.
First or second year players have accounted for 74.5 percent of the team’s rushing yards, led by Dungey and Fredericks, 53.8 percent of the team’s receiving yards and 54.5 percent of the team’s tackles.
Before SU’s 23 20 loss to the Panthers, the team had scored at least 24 points in every game. The last time the Orange did that for a full season, it won the national championship in 1959.
“One of (Pitt’s) coaches said to me on the way down. ‘Wow, you guys are going to be really, really good with the amount of sophomores you have out there,'” Lester said. “And I think that gives you that sense of calm because they’re improving, they’re listening, they’re playing hard, they’re in every game and the experience part, you can’t replace that.”
The defense has shown flashes of growth despite its inability to get off the field on the most crucial possessions of games.
Sophomore linebackers Zaire Franklin and Parris Bennett are tied for the team lead in tackles (43) and have both shined at times as blitzers. Second year safety Antwan Cordy has been a bright spot in the secondary with a pair of sacks and fumble returned for touchdown.
The question is: how certain is it that players will continue to improve?
Bullough has confidence in his unit. He’s seen players in the past grow from understanding the scheme to being able to apply it without thinking and focus on the nuances of an opposing offense, like the way a tackle leans or set of receivers lines up.
“As long as they play hard and keep fighting, this thing will turn,” Bullough said. “As you get older, you get more experience and this thing will turn.”
Lester and Bullough agreed that as an assistant coach you can’t worry about job security. They focus on daily improvement and focus on a week by week basis.
“There’s nothing that I’m going to do different whether we win or lose other than trying to get these young guys better,” Lester said.
With five games left, two against Top 25 teams and three away from the Carrier Dome, SU has a slim chance of making a bowl. But this next month could be crucial for Shafer and his staff to show that they can coach up the talent they’ve recruited.