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Orangeyes Daily Articles for Wednesday for Football

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Welcome to National Meatball Day!

Meatballs are probably a gift from the heavens—there are early recipes for meatballs are found in ancient Chinese, Arabic and Roman texts—and every culture seems to have their own version! Beef, pork, and veal are most popular, but they can be made with chicken, fish or even vegan. Let’s all rejoice on March 9 in honor of National Meatball Day.

SU News

Syracuse begins spring football; nowhere to go but up (AP; Kekis)


Dino Babers is starting the most important year of his tenure at Syracuse. With only one winning season under his belt in six years, there's pressure to get it right again.

Two days into spring camp, things are in high gear and there's been lots of change.

"There's been some change, which is good," Babers said Monday after practice. "New ideas out there. Those guys are grabbing it very, very quickly. They're learning new stuff. I think so far, so good. It's only the second day out, but they're going to get better."

Syracuse was one win shy of securing a bowl game berth last season with three games left on the schedule and lost all three to finish at 5-7 overall and 2-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference for the fourth time in Babers' tenure. That left his Syracuse record at 29-43, 15-35 in the ACC.

The stumble to the finish prompted a revamping of the staff in late December. Babers fired offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and brought in Robert Anae from Virginia to take his place. Syracuse also hired former Virginia quarterbacks coach Jason Beck after the sudden resignation of head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

Virginia finished 2021 ranked third nationally in total offense behind quarterback Brennan Armstrong with an average of 515.8 yards. Syracuse averaged just 366.5 yards per game, 213.5 of that on the ground, relying an awful lot on the running prowess of tailback Sean Tucker (1,496) and quarterback Garrett Shrader (781). The duo combined to score all but two of the Orange's 28 rushing touchdowns.[/HEADING]

Two-year starter Tommy DeVito, a dropback passer who was replaced by Shrader after three games, transferred to Illinois, and the Orange landed quarterback Dan Villari from Michigan via the transfer portal, giving Syracuse a second dual threat. At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Villari is virtually identical in size to Shrader, and though he played sparingly in four games last season for the Wolverines, he gives the Orange a second set of legs at the position.

"You need to have two, just in case something happens if you want to stay the same, so it'll be a positive," Babers said. "You get to do the same offense over and over and over again. (Villari's) been good. He's been learning a new thing as well, but to have a big old strapping guy back there that can do some things, it's going to be awesome."
...


Syracuse football kicks off spring practice (rochesterfirst.com)

Spring practice kicked off yesterday for the Orange, with the first workout open to the media Monday.

SU has a lot to accomplish over the course of these next few weeks especially on the offensive side of the ball. There is a new offensive coordinator in Robert Anea as well a a couple of new position coaches working with the quarterbacks and wide receivers.

Dino Baber addressed the media after practice and said spring ball is all about techniques and fundamentals. He wants his team to get bigger, stronger, and faster.

The Orange and Blue scrimmage is set for April 1st. Spring practice concludes a week later on the 9th.


Syracuse Football: new Coaches + new players= new offensive identity for the Orange? - Skydigitalagenzia IT (SDG; Deskaminx)

Yesterday gave us the first Syracuse Orange spring football practice with media availability. While you might not get to learn a lot by watching drills and hearing vague interview answers we did get some insight. Babers went outside his coaching tree to bring in Robert Anae and Jason Beck from Virginia to run the offense and it sounds like he’s trusting them to start things with their philosophy as Stephen Bailey from 247 reported

“Right now, we’re going with a bunch of stuff,” Babers said. “I have to be careful with how I say this because everybody, they want to know what the hell we’re doing. We’re starting with their stuff as the lead, but I think somewhere in there, there’s going to be a blend….”
Before he left John got some insight on the Virginia offense and a common theme was the adaptability of the coaches. We know that the Syracuse running game is in good hands with Sean Tucker but can the Orange find a consistent passing game throughout the 2022 season?

Babers mentioned that having a quarterback room full of dual-threat players makes it easier for the new staff to run the same type of plays no matter who is under center. While Virginia moved away from the quarterback runs last year we could see it remain a big part of the Syracuse offense in 2022.

The new coaches bring a new opportunity for players to elevate themselves on the depth chart so we’ll be watching the battles at quarterback and wide receiver this spring. Can some of the second-year players push the returning starters over the next month?

We learned that Syracuse will likely be without Chris Bleich this spring but the hope is that his latest surgery will allow to have a greater impact next Fall. With Bleich on the sidelines Josh Ilaoa and Kalan Ellis are getting a shot to run with the first-team offence. Hopefully the focus on offensive line depth in recent years gives the Orange a deeper unit that can still find success if a starter is out.

The next open practice will be Wednesday and we’ll hear from some offensive players while Friday gives media availability to the defense. We know Tony White’s group is experienced at linebacker and defensive back so the focus will be on the defensive line this spring. Can the Orange stop the run well enough to force opponents to become one-dimensional? A lot will hinge on the line’s ability to hold up blockers and allow Mikel Jones and the rest of the linebackers get to the ball carrier.


Syair Torrence Gets Different Look at Syracuse on Junior Day Visit (SI; McAllister)

Class of 2024 Syracuse (N.Y.) CBA wide receiver Syair Torrence returned to the Syracuse campus on Saturday for a Junior Day visit.

"It was good," Torrence said. "We did pictures with the jerseys, did position meetings and went to the Syracuse basketball game after. The best part for me was the position meeting because it helped me learn new things, especially coming from the coaches teaching us all."

One highlight of the trip was checking out the Orange basketball team. While his brother, Symir, did not play due to injury, Syair still enjoyed being in the crowd.

"The atmosphere was exciting," Torrence said. "The student section was lit. The fans are just very supportive to the players."

Torrence also spoke with some of the Syracuse coaches.

"Coach Shep (defensive quality control Bryan Shepherd)," Torrence said. "He was a cool coach to be around. I didn't have to switch it up. I could be myself. We had a conversation outside of football and I liked that. I think we're going to develop a great relationship."

...

New Jersey DL/TE Dante Barone high on Syracuse after junior day visit (247sports.com; $; Bailey)

Class of 2023 prospect Dante Barone came away from his junior day visit impressed by Syracuse football. He enjoyed getting a feel for head coach Dino Babers' coaching style during a Q&A with the recruits, got to bond with defensive line coach Chris Achuff in the meeting room, and saw a fit on the defensive line of SU's 3-3-5 scheme.

Throw in SU's academic offerings and the two-way standout for The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., has the Orange as one of his top options moving forward this spring.
...


ACC Spring Preview: One burning question for every team (247sports.com; Marcello)

We’ve reached the second week of March on the college athletics calendar. For many fans that means brackets. For the college football diehards, it means spring practice, new-look depth charts and plenty of hope for every FBS program.

Spring ball is underway for some schools and is soon to start for everyone else, so this week 247Sports is previewing every Power Five conference with a burning question for each team. From quarterback battles to offensive lines in need of major overhauls, this is the outlook for the ACC this spring.

BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES

Will Phil Jurkovec and a new coordinator rev up the offense?
Boston College's offense didn't blow the doors off the ACC last season, but it was good enough -- and led to some solid wins -- and now the Eagles are shifting to a new scheme. Frank Cignetti left for Pitt in the offseason, opening the door for Notre Dame tight ends coach John McNulty to take over as offensive coordinator. He takes over an offense that must reload in the trenches. Four starting jobs are open along the offensive line with All-ACC offensive guard Christian Mahogany as the only returning starter. Redshirt freshman Drew Kendall will likely be the starting center, but everything else is up for grabs with Cignetti in charge. The good news: quarterback Phil Jurkovec is back after an early-season injury in 2021.

CLEMSON TIGERS

Never has Dabo Swinney replaced an offensive and defensive coordinator in the same year, and after a decade of stability at Clemson this spring is a season of change for the ACC's blue blood.
Replacing Brent Venables on defense and Tony Elliott on offense seems like the huge storyline, but let's not forget the true identity of every Clemson team over the last decade depends on the quarterback. D.J. Uiagaleleisimply underwhelmed in his first full season as starter, particularly when considering how many analysts expected him to be a Heisman Trophy contender a year ago. He had the worst quarterback rating in the ACC (108.7) and threw more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (9). That's a quick way to get benched should he fail to improve this spring. Cade Klubnik, the class of 2022's No. 1 quarterback in the 247Sports Composite, is on campus and should get a shot at the job if more trouble arises. Still, it's too early to project such a seismic change.
"Good news for him: He's gonna get a lot of reps right out of the gate here," Swinney said last week. "He'll get a ton of work, and I'm excited to see him on the field. It's always fun to see those new mid-years when they have their first practice. There's a lot on those guys even though they're all really talented, young football players."
Meanwhile, the offensive line, which struggled last season, might get help via a rarely-traversed avenue: the transfer portal. Swinney is actively searching for an interior offensive lineman in what would be only his second addition *ever* from the portal.

DUKE BLUE DEVILS

How quickly can Mike Elko change the culture?
David Cutcliffe
did the impossible at Duke and won a divisional title in 2013 but last-place finishes each of the last two seasons in the ACC were too much to ignore. In comes Mike Elko, the Texas A&M defensive coordinator, as head coach. His task is difficult: rebuild a roster with a lack of big-time talent in the ACC Coastal. Elko has built an impressive staff led by former Memphis offensive coordinator Kevin Johns.
"Now that we've got the staff here in place, I think it's really going to turn into roster evaluation — who do we have, what do we have, who are our playmakers — how do we need to feature them and what are we going to build our philosophy around," Elko said in February. "I think it's hard to talk about that until you really become familiar with the players and see what they're capable of and that will be an ongoing process through spring ball and then heading into the summer and really try formulating an identity of what we want to be this fall."

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES

Is Florida State's time now?
Florida State's overhaul of the roster is nearly complete. Third-year coach Mike Norvell brought aboard yet another slew of transfers and newcomers in the offseason, and one could argue this team is completely his own. Fans want to see results and a winning season is the expectation in Tallahassee, where Norvell hopes the portal will change their fortunes after the program recored four straight losing seasons for the first time since 1973-76. Good or bad, this is Norvell’s team. He built it via the portal and now it’s time to see what the Seminoles can do on the field.
He added four new receivers, two offensive linemen and the nation's most-coveted pass rusher in Albany's Jared Verse to complement an offense led by second-year starter Jordan Travis at quarterback and a defense in need of new pass rushers after losing 18.5 sacks of production from last season.

GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS

Will Georgia Tech's reset work?
Coaches only want to hit the reset button in the fourth year of their stay at a school if it's because sustained success has led to assistant coaches landing bigger gigs. That's not the case at Georgia Tech, where Geoff Collins enters a critical season after winning three games for a third straight season. He replaced six of 10 assistant coaches in the offseason and 12 transfers, including a pair of 4-star talents led by running back Jahmyr Gibbs (Alabama).
The competition at quarterback will rage with Jeff Sims facing former Akron quarterback Zach Gibson following the departures of four quarterbacks. Tech's new offensive staff is not lacking names with Chip Long coordinating and former Florida State star Chris Weinke coaching the quarterbacks. This might be the ACC's newest-looking team on the field and the sidelines with a veteran head coach.

LOUISVILLE CARDINALS

Will Cardinals find answers in depleted secondary?
Louisville needs help on defense and sadly this spring may not provide many answers.

The Cardinals enter the spring with a thin defensive backfield after Kani Walker and Greedy Vance left the team, safety Qwynnterrio Cole graduated and Kenderick Duncan, the team's third-leading tackler, out for the spring. Help is on the way with transfers Jalen Alexander (Duke) and Jayden Williams (USC), but they do not arrive on campus until the summer.

"The staff is attempting to bolster the depth via the transfer portal," said Cardinal Authority analyst Michael McCammon. "Additionally, the hiring of Wesley McGriff as co-defensive coordinator will likely result in some scheme changes."
The Cardinals' pass defense ranked 94th nationally while allowing more than 400 yards per game last season.

MIAMI HURRICANES

Can Miami fix tackling issues?
Miami's offense came to life late last season thanks to the emergence of youngster Tyler Van Dyke at quarterback, but while many will focus on the ever-improving offense this spring, you can bet the biggest task on Mario Cristobal's list is sharpening technique on defense.
Miami has been one of the worst tackling teams in the FBS over the last three seasons under former head coach Manny Diaz. The Hurricanes finished with the third-worst grade in the 130-team FBS last season, ranking as the worst Power Five team in the country in tackling, according to Pro Football Focus. Veteran defensive coordinator Kevin Steele arrives in Miami with the task of turning around a subpar defense that can be so much better by simply improving fundamentals. Steele turned around Auburn half a decade ago on defense, but can he do it again? Don't go searching for standout players or big plays at Miami's spring game. Fans should instead watch that defense and see if players are simply squaring and wrapping up players, finishing tackles and pursuing great angles.

NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS

Is it a rebuild or reload for North Carolina?
North Carolina's incredibly disappointing season ended with the departure of quarterback Sam Howell and the need for changes on defense. Mack Brown turned to former Auburn head coach (and UNC coordinator) Gene Chizik to lead the defense in the search for more discipline on and off the field. On offense, a battle will rage this spring between former 4-star prospects Drake Maye and Jacolby Criswell. The new quarterback will work behind an offense line that was subpar last season and must replace three starters.
“The Tar Heels have some experience returning in left tackle Asim Richards, centers Brian Anderson and Quiron Johnson, and veteran reserves William Barnes and Ed Montilus, but they will need to turn to some new faces to replace a wealth of reps,” said Inside Carolina analyst Ross Martin.

NC STATE WOLFPACK

How will NC State handle high expectations with some holes to fill?
NC State has won 17 combined games the last two seasons and challenging for a 10-win season is the goal for the Wolfpack in the fall.
Quarterback Devin Leary was marvelous last season, throwing 35 touchdowns against five interceptions while passing for 3,433 yards and similar numbers -- even without receiver Emeka Emezie -- could place the Wolfpack in the ACC title hunt. Still, who steps in at running back following the departures of the top returning rushers (Zonovan Knight and Ricky Person Jr.) and left tackle Ikem Ekwonu, who could be the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft? No one is asking NC State fans to temper expectations but there are some holes to fill during the spring and offseason.

PITT PANTHERS

Who replaces quarterback Kenny Pickett?
Pitt was an overlooked surprise on the national stage last season as quarterback Kenny Pickett pushed the Panthers to an ACC title and 11-2 record while also lifting himself into the Heisman Trophy conversation. Not since Dan Marino was on campus (1981) has Pitt won so many games, and the prospect of replicating that success in 2022 is a gigantic request. For one, how does Pitt replace a record-breaking quarterback and All-American?
Pitt explored the transfer portal and landed former USC starter Kedon Slovis, a rising senior with incredible talent but also a stack of declining numbers since his freshman season on the West Coast. He threw 11 touchdowns against eight interceptions in nine starts with a 4-5 record last season. He'll battle redshirt senior Nick Patti and redshirt junior Davis Beville for the opportunity to start for the Panthers. Whoever starts at quarterback should benefit greatly with the best receiver in the conference returning to the roster. Jordan Addison won the Biletnikoff Award after piling up 1,593 yards and 17 touchdowns on 100 catches.

SYRACUSE ORANGE

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Photo: Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire, Getty)


Will new offense lead to more production?
Well, this is probably the critical year for Dino Babers. The head coach is breaking in a new offense and is apparently ditching the Baylor Veer and Shoot for a new system under former Virginia coordinator Robert Anae. The question is whether the fourth coordinator in seven seasons will lead to improvement for the Orange. Anae coached 15 years under Bronco Mendenhall, who resigned abruptly at Virginia in December, and brings with him experience leading a top-5 offense last season.
But don't expect the entire Veer and Shoot system to remain in the trash can, apparently.
"Right now, we’re going with a bunch of stuff," Babers said Monday. "I have to be careful with how I say this because everybody, they want to know what the hell we’re doing. We’re starting with their stuff as the lead, but I think somewhere in there, there’s going to be a blend. But right now we’re going with their stuff because it’s the best way to keep it moving at a very, very fast pace before we can come back, regroup and decide what we want to keep and what we want to get rid of."

Syracuse's offense ranked 125th nationally in passing yards per game and 92nd in scoring (24.9 points per game).
...


Other

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DeWitt Firefighter Marcel Jeffery clears away the entrance to the firehouse Friday, February 4, 2022. Over a foot of snow fell on Syracuse overnight, with schools out, and people digging out N. Scott Trimble | strimble@syracuse.com

Syracuse has the biggest snow shortfall in the Northeast (PS; $; Coin)

American’s snowiest large city is once again failing to live up to its title.

Syracuse’s seasonal snowfall is about 4 feet below normal, the biggest shortfall of any major climate site in the Northeast.

This ranks as Syracuse’s sixth least-snowy winter season since 1950, when the official measuring site was moved to Hancock International Airport. So far we’ve gotten 61.6 inches, while normal through March 6 is 110.5 inches. That’s a gap of 48.9 inches.

Last year wasn’t much different. A year ago, Syracuse’s snowfall total stood at 68.8 inches, about 42 inches below normal.

This season, overall precipitation has been about normal, which means that instead of snow, we’ve often dealt with messy mixes of ice and freezing rain.

“We weren’t too bad on the precipitation, but we were were pathetic on the snowfall,” said New York state Climatologist Mark Wysocki.

We can thank two broad-scale weather patterns for that, he said: the polar vortex and La Nina. The polar vortex, a ribbon of cold air that encircles the north pole at about 80,000 feet above the surface, can often break off and cause long-standing cold spells in the Upper U.S. This year, the southward surge of the vortex caused a big wave that brought in cold air from Canada but blocked moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, Wysocki explained.
...
 

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