If Syracuse LT Justin Pugh is out for an extended period, as Syracuse.com has speculated, it could be a devastating blow for an Orange offense that ranked fourth in the Big East in sacks allowed in 2011.
Pugh, a 2011 All-Big East First Team performer, could miss a portion of the regular season with an apparent upper-body injury, a source told Dave Rahme of Syracuse.com. The senior was one of several Syracuse players to sit out the final days of Orange spring practice. According to Brent Axe, who had head coach Doug Marrone on his TV and radio shows Monday afternoon, Pugh will miss the entire preseason camp with the injury.
Pugh (6-foot-6, 290) also missed the spring game with an undisclosed injury. He has earned a reputation for nearly matching the speed of the Orange running backs on the outside when they found space in the open field. He anchors an experienced offensive line that also returns senior guard Zack Chibane and senior center Macky MacPherson.
The Orange face a challenging nonconference schedule with games against USC, Northwestern and Minnesota in the opening month. In 2011, the Trojans ranked 20th in FBS with 31.0 sacks, while the Golden Gophers and Wildcats ranked 86th and 106th respectively.
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Big East, follow bloggers Evan Hilbert and Matt Rybaltowski @CBSBigEast.