Syracuse football roundtable: Looking ahead at SU’s 1st bowl game since 2013

first_img Published on December 19, 2018 at 10:26 pm No. 16 Syracuse (9-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast) plays in its first bowl game since 2013 on Dec. 28 against No. 16 West Virginia (8-3, 6-3 Big 12) in the Camping World Bowl. In the month leading up to the game, several interesting storylines have developed including WVU star quarterback Will Grier deciding to not play in preparation for the NFL Draft and the possibility of Syracuse graduate transfers playing in their first games for SU.Below our beat writers address pressing questions leading into the Orange’s bowl game.How much of a difference will the absence of Will Grier make in the game?Andrew Graham: A rather big one. Grier is most definitely NFL bound, which is why he’s sitting this game out. Head coach Dino Babers said he’s not entirely sure what to expect from the Mountaineers’ other quarterbacks, though. The backup is Jack Allison, a redshirt sophomore with 10 attempts to his name this season. With no tape to scout, there’s no “book” on Allison or WVU’s other QB’s, he said. Babers brought up the other quarterbacks because he alluded that WVU may even bring out two quarterbacks, try to run from the QB position or throw other wrinkles out. While this does create a bit of a game planning black hole, none of the quarterbacks on this roster are as talented, polished or accomplished as Grier, and that’s going to show.Matt Liberman: Over the past two seasons, West Virginia quarterbacks have combined for 888 pass attempts. Grier has thrown 788 of those, and the backup, Jack Allison, has thrown just 10 passes this season. West Virginia wins its games through the air. Grier is top-5 in the nation in touchdowns, passing yards and passer rating. The Mountaineers rank third in the nation in passing yards per game and 75th in rushing. Without its star, who came into this season as a favorite to be a Heisman finalist, West Virginia will likely have to rely on its run game. Barring a Grier-like performance from whomever backs him up, that doesn’t bode well for WVU.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textJosh Schafer: Will Grier finished his final season with West Virginia averaging 351 passing yards per game with 37 touchdowns. Redshirt sophomore Jack Allison threw 10 passes all year. With that said, it’s hard to guess what will come of West Virginia’s offense. But if Allison doesn’t play near Grier’s level, the Mountaineers will rely on their run offense. In the regular season, the WVU offense averaged 162 rushing yards per game, 75th in the nation. Syracuse’s run defense improved as the season went on and can hold its own against an average WVU rushing attack. With the rushing attack in check, the Mountaineers may be forced to drop Allison back at a similar rate they would Grier. And with the seventh ranked pass rush in the country, Syracuse won’t let Allison have anything easy. The bottom line: Anytime a team’s best player sits out, it’s going to be in a bit of trouble.How much will SU by boosted if its newly-eligible transfers play?A.G.: It’s hard to say at this point. Wideout Trishton Jackson and running back Abdul Adams both only became eligible about a week ago. As members of the scout team, they’ve been running the offenses of SU’s opponent for 12 weeks. The challenge for them, Babers said, is getting up to speed with SU’s offense. They need to know the playbook perfectly, because, Babers said, if even one guy is off on a play, it can wreck all the timing. I still expect to see a healthy dose of Jackson and Abdul — they’ll provide a nice talent infusion — but as of now, it’s still probably up to SU’s regular crew of contributors to carry the load offensively.M.L.: I would caution anyone who thinks that throwing Jackson and Adams out on the first snap is a good idea. Yes, they’ve been at school for over a year now and have likely learned the playbook enough to go out and run their proper assignments, but they’ve never played it in a game. And working in Syracuse’s no-huddle, fast-paced offense is a completely different animal. I think SU rides with the combination that they have gone with all season long, and if the team is in need of a spark of energy, then Jackson and Adams may see some action.J.S.: At this point, we don’t know much about Jackson or Adams other than the whispers of them being explosive in practice. Which is why it’s not unreasonable to go back to their original recruiting profiles and brief college stints with other programs. They were both four-star recruits who transferred from schools with better recent football histories than Syracuse. Adams averaged 9.2 yards per carry last season at Oklahoma. If he gets even a few carries, Syracuse fans might be treated to a hint of his explosion. Jackson, a 6-foot-1 receiver, caught 12 passes for 143 yards last season with Michigan State. Quarterback Eric Dungey likes to spread the ball around in a pass-happy offense, which would benefit Jackson if he plays.What’s the game’s most important matchup?A.G.: SU’s pass rush versus WVU’s offensive line. Besides Grier, one of the Mountaineers offensive tackles, Yodny Cajuste, is sitting out the Camping World Bowl, too. This is then a ripe opportunity for Kendall Coleman, Chris Slayton and Alton Robinson to wreak some havoc. SU’s pass rush has been good, if not entirely consistent this season. But against a backup quarterback and a weakened offensive line, SU can seriously disrupt everything WVU will try to do offensively. SU’s dominant pass rush can kill plays before they really start. If Syracuse can do that semi-consistently on Dec. 28, it should neuter the Mountaineers vaunted offense.M.L.: Can Syracuse get its run game going? Where West Virginia will be suiting up with a second-string quarterback, SU will likely have the upper hand offensively, only if Moe Neal, Dontae Strickland and Jarveon Howard are able to advance the football and be a true threat to open up the sidelines for the Orange’s wideouts. If SU is able to push the ball up the gut, it’ll open the passing lines for Nykeim Johnson and Sean Riley in the flat and over the middle, and that in turn creates one-on-one matchups on the outside for Jamal Custis and Taj Harris. If SU is forced to abandon the run game, then Eric Dungey has to be great in order to take down the Mountaineers, and he has a tendency to be up-and-down. His last game against BC was terrific, we’ll see if he can maintain it.J.S.: Syracuse’s passing attack versus the West Virginia secondary. On paper, this is a matchup the Orange offense wins every time. The Orange rank 36th in passing offense while the Mountaineers defense sits at 99th. But in this game, one without Grier, it’s important how much the Orange win this matchup by — for several reasons. A few weeks ago, the thought of the shootout sounded daunting for Syracuse. But now with WVU less equipped to keep pace with the Orange, it must run away with it. Add in that it’s the final game for Dungey, a player who has dictated the tone and performance for this team in the past four seasons, and the significance of the passing game only increases. It’s safe to say Syracuse goes as Dungey goes. So, if Dungey can throw well, complemented by some runs, the Orange will have their best chance to win. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Push Past Procrastination Reach Your Goals

first_imggoalsIn a post for Young Entrepreneur, Annie Mueller outlines the reasons you’re not reaching your goals in life and work.Recently, Mueller finished her first novel, learning what to do and what not to do in the process of accomplishing her goal.No planning, bad planning, or too much planning“The best plans cover the goal and the next action you need to take and, really, not much more,” she writes. She advises avoiding bad planning, which can leave you overwhelmed with details or too much planning, leaving you with no action.(See Do Your Company Goals Align With Your People?)Too many goals“If you spread yourself too thin by pursuing too many goals at the same time, you’ll make minimal or no progress in each,” she writes.Mueller recommends focusing on three big goals at a time, keeping the rest of your life in maintenance mode.Goals you don’t care aboutShe says you should avoid goals that people in your social circle care about, saying if you don’t really care, there’s no point in setting that goal.Organizing in lieu of doingShe says it’s good to give yourself a limit on organizing and prep work; getting real work done even if things aren’t as neat as you’d like them.(See The importance of setting Goals)Too detailed or ritualisticSkip the psychological handicaps and rituals, she says.“You can work, as long as you possess the physical and mental ability to do the work itself,” she writes.“ Focus,” she adds. “The path to progress isn’t easy, but it’s fulfilling, invigorating, and the views are a heck of a lot better than anything on YouTube.”For more on reaching your goals, read Mueller’s full post here.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThislast_img read more