"2) 9 tubas. Not good. On the positive side, only 1 tuba player appears to be a senior. So the tuba section, like the team, has a bright future. Assuming we don’t lose any tuba players in the portal."Another good tailgate by the SyraCRUZ gang. Good attendance. Props for the heated tents, which increased by tailgate enjoyment level by 1.8 times the normal level for a cold afternoon. There was a lot of talk about the new coach. No one really knows anything except Mark Blaudshun is an idiot. Truth.
Met two young frosh lacrosse players. Told them I would see them again in Philly for the Final Four. They weren’t sure where the Final Four is this season but I know a thing or two. Told them I expected four Final Fours in the next four years. They are on board with me plan, so the future finally looks good for SU lacrosse.
Got to the dome about 45 minutes before kickoff. Some general comments…
1) Wake brought a large contingent of coaches upstairs. So large a couple had to sit in the neutral zone between the two coaching boxes. And one had to sit on a bench with the regular fans. In contrast, they did not bring many fans.. Maybe 100. I don’t remember hearing them at all at any point during the game. Which is similar to what happens in games played at their little stadium in Winston-Salem.
2) 9 tubas. Not good. On the positive side, only 1 tuba player appears to be a senior. So the tuba section, like the team, has a bright future. Assuming we don’t lose any tuba players in the portal.
3) Top notch 5G in the stadium again today. I she Spectrum/Verizon for my personal phone. My work phone uses AT&T. They were supposed to be the second to get 5G in place but apparently T-Mobile beat them to the punch. Not cool AT&T.
4) Caleb led the team running down the field In the spot normally taken by Dino, who ran hard out of the tunnel to lead the team even in his 60s.
5) Still can’t understand what Kim Infanti says. At least now, when she opens her mouth our ears are attacked by a devasting screeching sound. Baby steps.
6) They tried a new thing with air guitars during one of the timeouts. Only they started too late, or maybe it was badly planned and ran late. But it almost held up the game and people really hated it.
7) They again did their taped routine designed to get the crowd really excited and loud coming out of a time out. But again, they played it at the end of the 3rd quarter with no regard for what was happening on the field. And again, SU had the ball in a big series, near the goal line. Getting the crowd loud was the worse thing you could do and of course, that is what we did. Can’t we reserve that video for a timeout when the visiting team has the ball coming out of a timeout? Preferably during a key series when we really need a stop? Why not try and do things to help the team win instead of just using a brainless script? Don’t we want to try and help the team win games?
I don’t want to make this out to be Syracuse-West Virginia 1987. This was a game between two not very good teams. There wasn’t much on the line. Wake was playing strictly for pride. Syracuse, abandoned by its lame duck coach, played for a bowl game and played for themselves. Was not sure how they would react to the turmoil and Coach Babers’ decision to leave immediately. Was impressed that they played one of their best games of the season under pressure and without their leader. Says a lot about the senior leaders on the team and the assistant coaches left holding the bag after Dino left the program.
Was wondering how the team would play without Dino involved in the offense. I think some of us have had suspicions he was meddling with play calls too much and screwing up play calling pretty regularly. This game did nothing to stop that kind of thinking. The team was noticeably more aggressive than normal all game long. It seemed like Coach Beck somehow added 8 or 10 plays to the play book from what we have been doing the last couple of weeks. A couple were passing plays we just stopped trying when Garrett got hurt. But a few were clearly new plays designed to take advantage of defenders going all out to try and stop our run heavy offense. Garrett or Dan both had plays where they acted like they were going to run and then suddenly pulled up and passed it over the middle. I think we got two TDS over these plays and they also forced Wake to be more cautious attacking the run, which helped our run game continue to be successful all game long.
Really good game plan and execution by the team. Garrett started off throwing it with some zip and excellent accuracy but it seemed like he lost some zip and accuracy with every pass thrown. I could see him moving his arm around, trying to get the pain to go away after every throw. I bet he won’t be able to throw for a couple of weeks but I think everyone knew there was going to be around a month to recover for the bowl game (assuming we won). Anyway, props to Garrett for being a warrior and finding a way to get the job done and will the team to victory.
Props also to LeQuint Allen, who again got a lot of carries and appeared to go 100% on every one of them. That guy ran really hard and got a lot of tough yards for us. He rarely had a big hole to run through and sometimes there was no hole. But he always found a way. Respect.
Respect for Villari as well. He didn’t play quite as big a role in this game as in the Pitt game but he made a bunch of big plays. Tough runs, a couple really nice passes. And oh yeah, he made a really nice catch on a ball over his head in the end zone for the TD that really put us in great position to get a win.
Also props to the OL. No sacks allowed again. For maybe the 3rd game in a row. Yes, we didn’t throw it a ton but we did quite a few times. Don’t remember us even getting a serious hurry. Joe Cruz appears to be a big upgrade at OG.
Less penalties than normal. Coincidence? Not sure. Sad to see Wax and Barron make huge boneheaded plays to extend drives. Not the first time for Marlowe. Or the second. Or the third….
Thought the defense was okay most of the game until a collapse in the fourth quarter. It would have been an epic collapse had they not held on during that last drive. But they got the big stop when they really needed it so all is forgiven. Thought most of the problems we had on defense relate to another really poor job of pass rushing. This DL has been good against the run but very poor rushing the passer. Wake had way too much time way too many times. They converted a 2 point play late on a play where Kern, not noted for his nimbleness, had maybe 20 seconds running around before he finally found a guy wide open in the end zone. A lot of the blame lies with the DEs, who have struggled all season getting pressure and sacks. Caleb just hasn’t produced much. Lockett got moved to DE and has done well stopping the run but not rushing the QB. Jacquez again looked like he has the ability to be a sack specialist but he keeps getting hurt. Simmons got hurt today. Niot sure if he returned. Didn’t look super serious. Lockett appears to be out for the season. We lost Linton and Geer to the portal. Now Norton, who never played, as well. Jobity has done okay in limited minutes. And Thompson has been okay but frankly a shadow of his former self and a disappointment this year. We really need to get better at DE in 2024.
Thought Barron had another strong game, despite his one bone headed play. I think he got his cast off recently and today was the first day I noticed he was a holder on kicks again. Seems to tackle better for some reason now that he has two hands to work with.
Our CBs struggled in man coverage again. Could use some help here in the portal. I like Gould a lot but today, he came in for Clark for one series and immediately gave up a long gain. Clark by the way seemed to be one of our best defenders and is finally back to playing like he did before he got hurt.
Denaberg missed another FG. Yes, this was another long one but you have to hit at least some of these. He has work to do to get better here. Props to him for another great job kicking off. Stonehouse had one punt and he killed it. But again, our punt coverage team was late getting down the field and again, there were multiple breakdowns on that punt and Wake got a giant return off of it. Licky has not had a good year coaching special teams. I am very disappointed with his work on the punt coverage team.
Was not a big crowd. The students did not show. A bunch of others did not show. But the people that did show were the true fans and most made a lot of noise. Good job all. I think Wake was bothered by it and the crowd played a big role in a number of penalties on the WF offense.
I think this game was a big game in terms of the perception of Syracuse football. Gething to a bowl game two years in a row isn’t a great achievement but for this program, it is and it is good to finally do it again. We had lost 3 straight to Wake. Unacceptable. Good to get that over with.
If we can win the bowl game and finish the season winning 3 of our last 4, that helps reduce the stench of the long mid season losing streak. We will show up in preseason predictions for the ACC in 9th, 10th or 11th place instead of 13th or 14th. If we get the coach I hope we get, we will get more respect still.
I would prefer to be picked in the upper tier of the ACC in the preseason polls but you have to start somewhere. We got to a bowl and while that isn’t amazing, it is a hell of a lot better than Wake. Or Pitt.
We have a lot of good players returning. Hopefully. We are about to get a much better head coach and a much better coaching staff. Hopefully. The schedule looks promising. We might actually go to a bowl three years in a row and maybe, just maybe get ranked next season.
Now Pitt and Wake can fight it out for last in the ACC preseason predictions. And hopefully in the ACC regular season too. It is go time for Syracuse.
For you. Maybe some of our tuba players were free agents looking for other options?
Boston, Massachusetts11/25/23. Musicians perform at the 50th Tuba Christmas event.
Photograph: Joseph Prezioso/AFP/Getty Images