Tag:Syracuse
Posted on: August 15, 2011 1:45 pm
 

Syracuse's plague of injuries continues

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

We're not sure how Syracuse so deeply offended the football gods. But after yet another round of injuries at Saturday's practice, there seems little doubt they have.

The latest victim is redshirt freshman tackle Sean Hickey, who the Syracuse Post-Standard reports went down Saturday with what an MRI showed to be a torn ACL and an additional tear of his lateral meniscus. Hickey will miss the 2011 season.

The good news for the Orange is that Hickey was likely going to be a backup even if he'd stayed healthy, with returning starter senior Michael Ray projected to maintain his position at right tackle. The bad news is that the Orange are nonetheless desperate for backups at this stage, with so many bodies missing from the offensive line that head coach Doug Marrone appeared to get some work in at center at one point. 

As the Post-Standard summarizes:
SU already is missing experience on the offensive line in Nick Lepak (concussion), Ian Allport (concussion) and Jarel Lowery (knee). It isn't certain how long those players will be out. Junior college transfer Lou Alexander has been held out of contact recently with an undisclosed injury, and freshman Nick Robinson also has a concussion.
All in all, 20 players missed the Cuse's second practice on Saturday through injury. But at least lineman Kristofer Curtis wasn't among them; the Post-Standard mentioned that Curtis has been the team's "most impressive newcomer" on the offensive line.

So it's too bad that Kurtis is now also "out indefinitely" with an ankle injury, Marrone reported today. We hope there's a set of pads lying around that might fit the Orange head coach and former Syracuse offensive lineman; he might have to get strapped up just to help his team get through practice.

HT: Dr. Saturday.
Posted on: August 8, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: August 8, 2011 10:20 am
 

Marrone unhappy with Syracuse practice

Posted by Chip Patterson

Syracuse's 2010 campaign delivered the first bowl victory for an Orange team in nearly a decade. With 13 starters returning for 2011, the media picked Syracuse to finish fourth in the conference in the preseason poll. This should be a time of excitement and optimism for Orange football, but head coach Doug Marrone has seemed displeased with their work three practices in to fall camp. Nolan Weidner, of The Post-Standard observed that the third year head coach "wasn't particularly upbeat" when evaluating his team's performance on Sunday.

"As of right now, no one's really separated themselves," Marrone explained. "We expect a lot of them, we hold them to a high standard. We have high expectations for them this year, it's all about the little things."

Some of those "little things" add up to a general feeling of practice productivity. When Marrone felt like his squad wasn't getting that kind of "quality practice" he was looking for, he cut Sunday's session short. In his post-practice comments with the media (The Post-Standard has a video here), Marrone seemed to place some of the blame for sub-par practice on the youth of his team. While the Orange do bring back several upperclassmen, particularly on the offensive side of the ball, only five of the top 12 tacklers are back on defense. With big question holes to fill at linebacker and cornerback, that competition Marrone is looking for will be key to re-establish a defense that only gave up 19.3 points per game in 2010.

The onus on that defensive side will start on the front line, led by junior all-conference end Chandler Jones and senior Mikhail Marinovich. With a Sept. 17 trip to face USC in the Coliseum, there will not be much of a learning curve once the season starts. As an Orange alum himself, Marrone takes great pride in his team's work ethic. I would expect that this week's practices may carry a different tone as the season inches closer.
Posted on: August 5, 2011 5:55 pm
Edited on: August 5, 2011 6:02 pm
 

Syracuse RB Gulley out 7-10 days, Sales suspended

Posted by Chip Patterson

At Big East Media Day, Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone had no official comment on the status of Prince-Tyson Gulley or Marcus Sales. The former suffered multiple stab wounds after an on-campus brawl broke out at a party, the latter faces several felony drug charges after a traffic stop last Friday night.

When meeting with the media an hour before the Orange kicked off their first practice of the 2011 season, Marrone announced that Sales has been suspended indefinitely and Gulley will miss 7-10 days of practice.

Gulley reported to camp on time and will not face any disciplinary actions, and a suspect has been arraigned in Syracuse City Court. Gulley will take a more active role in the Syracuse offense this season, after primarily serving as a return man in 2010. With Antwon Bailey looking to fill in for the departed Delone Carter, Gulley will be counted on as the second-string back to share the load.

Sales' potential absence could be a big blow to the Orange passing game. Quarterback Ryan Nassib threw 19 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions last season, and was counting on having his two senior receivers (Sales and Van Chew) in the lineup.

Marrone also announced that backup quarterback Jonny Miller has been suspended, after being arrested on Wednesday in connection to an assault and robbery incident in Boulder, Colo. along with Colorado offensive lineman Bryce Givens.

Posted on: August 3, 2011 10:46 am
 

TCU 2012 Big East schedule released

Posted by Chip Patterson

CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy spoke with TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte at Big East Media Day this week in regards to the program's future, particularly in the Big East. Del Conte spoke about head coach Gary Patterson's opportunity to "create his own shadow" and the $105 million expansion and renovation to Amon Carter Stadium. The stadium construction is expected to be done in time for the 2012 season, which will kick off against Grambling Sept. 8.

Here's how the Horned Frogs first season in the Big East is shaping up:

HOME GAMES
Grambling
Oklahoma
Virginia
Cincinnati
Louisville
South Florida
West Virginia

ROAD GAMES
Pittsburgh
Connecticut
Rutgers
Syracuse


Seems pointless to try and predict how this schedule will look for the Horned Frogs seeing as we are still a season away, but we can do it anyway.

Connecticut, Rutgers, and Syracuse were picked 6,7, and 8 in the 2011 preseason media poll, so I find it difficult to foresee either of those teams quickly becoming big-time threats before 2012. Pittsburgh could certainly present a challenge, though much of the defense that is expected to dominate in 2011 will have graduated. I expect opportunity to host the rest of the possible Big East title contenders in a rowdy new stadium will benefit the Horned Frogs in their initial season as a league member.
Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:50 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Big East Media Day: Coaches Highlights

Posted by Chip Patterson

Big East Media Day got started in Newport the the release of the preseason media poll and opening remarks from commissioner John Marinatto and all eight head coaches. Each coach was given several minutes to address the media and share some thoughts on the upcoming season.

Pretty much every coach spent some time talking about the competition in the league. It was pointed out several times that 5 of the 8 teams have earned a share of the conference title since 2006, and all eight teams have earned at least one bowl berth in the last two years. Also many of the coaches expressed their excitement for the arrival of TCU and the topic of the upcoming media deal negotiation was not ignored. Other than Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, no other coach has been in his current post for longer than three seasons. The anxiousness to get into fall camp was another common theme, particularly for new coaches Todd Graham, Dana Holgorsen, and Paul Pasqualoni.

Below are some highlights from each coach's time at the podium.

Rutgers - Greg Schiano

- Schiano acknowledged the late-season collapse from 2010. "The wheels came off," he explained to the media. "We'll return Rutgers football to its winning ways, to bowl games." The Scarlet Knights had been to five straight bowl games (winning four in a row) until 2010's last place finish.

- One of the weakest points in Rutgers' offense a year ago was the offensive line. With new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti, Schiano believes the Scarlet Knights will return to being a "power football team." Says they've made some schematic changes to the line, but also believes they "are a better group than we were at any time last year."

- Highly touted running back Savon Huggins has become a star in the Rutgers football community before even setting foot on campus. Schiano made no promises about the starting running back position, but instead listed the entire group and said that Huggins will "make for great competition" when camp opens.

West Virginia - Dana Holgorsen

- "Excited to get to do this a year early" was the closest Holgorsen came to mentioning former head coach Bill Stewart. However he did spend a considerable amount of time complimenting the work of defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel. While the Mountaineers lost seven starters from the defensive unit to the NFL, Holgorsen believes they have a "good nucleus" of players coming back to lead the 2011 edition of Casteel's defense.

- Holgorsen said that quarterback Geno Smith has picked up the new offensive system well. While Holgorsen has only been head coach since June, he's been working with the offense since his arrival in Morgantown before spring practice. He said that Smith's challenge now is "to make everyone around him better."

- "Tavon Austin is a dynamic kid who can touch the ball in a whole bunch of different ways," Holgorsen said of the junior playmaker. He made it clear the Mountaineers plan on putting the ball in his hands as much as they can.

Syracuse - Doug Marrone

- With an 8-5 finish and a Pinstripe Bowl victory, the Orange are fresh off their most successful season since 2001. Marrone, entering his second year on the job, made it clear that the goals for the program are to create a foundation and "become a competitive team year in and year out" in the league. The media projected the Orange to finish fourth in the conference, but well behind West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and USF.

- The Orange lost a lot of talent on defense, and Marrone made it clear that there will be lots of competition over the next month in camp. While the unit is solid at defensive end and safety, it sounds like the interior line, outside linebackers, and corner back positions are up for grabs.

- There was no update on the medical status of Prince-Tyson Gulley or any team decision regarding recently arrested wide receiver Marcus Sales. It has been reported that Gulley has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home, but the coach made no statement on either situation.

Charlie Strong - Louisville

- Strong won over the Cardinals football community in his first year by taking the team back to the postseason for the firs time since the 2006 season, when the Cardinals were Big East champions. He was able to deliver a bowl game experience to a team that had 25 seniors, with 14 in the starting lineup. Strong made it clear that the Cardinals will be looking for players to step up this fall, filling in for the mass exodus of players from the two-deep.

- There is no hiding the lack of experience at quarterback for the Cardinals. Junior Will Stein has the most experience of the group (2 starts), but Strong made sure to mention dual-threat freshman Teddy Bridgewater and wildcard QB Dominique Brown as well. In spring practice it looked like Stein had a lead on the job thanks to his comfort with the offense, but clearly every candidate will get a shot to earn snaps this fall.

- Strong said that the defense will likely be the team's strength this season, particularly the defensive line. Three starters return from last year's unit, and the entire two-deep has game experience. The Cardinals also return both starting safeties, most notably 2nd team All-Big East sophomore Hakeem Smith.

Paul Pasqualoni - Connecticut

- It seems odd that one of the "first-year" coaches was present for the first season of Big East football in 1991, but such is the way things have worked out for Connecticut's Paul Pasqualoni. He pointed out how different the league is now, noting that the diversity of champions in recent years contrasts to the conference's inception - where Miami took 9 of the first 13 Big East titles.

- With no starting quarterback (Pasqualoni has decided to let all four candidates continue to compete into fall camp), there has been an emphasis placed on the offensive line. The Huskies did a fantastic job moving the ball with Jordan Todman in 2010, and Pasqualoni hopes that USC-transfer D.J. Shoemate will be able to find similar success this fall.

- Expect multiple looks from the Huskies defense this season. Explained that he and defensive coordinator Don Brown (formerly with Maryland) have different backgrounds and are "merging" their systems. There will be some 3-4 and some 4-3 as the Huskies continue to develop the linebacker position. Pasqualoni says that he has an "outstanding defensive line," anchored by all-conference defensive tackle Kendall Reyes.

Todd Graham - Pittsburgh

- When Graham took the podium, it was impossible not to recognize his feeling of pride after being introduced as the Pittsburgh coach. He opened talking about how far he has come, from coaching middle school football 25 years ago to now finally being a head coach in a BCS AQ conference. He mentioned his great memories as an assistant at West Virginia (his first collegiate job), and expressed his excitement to return to the conference. He also indirectly gave credit to former head coach Dave Wannstedt, saying he "has a lot of respect for the job that has been done before him" to bring this team together.

- Graham used the phrase "high-octane" several times during his remarks, and Panther fans should get excited for what it could mean for the offense this fall. Not only will it lead to exciting football, but Graham actually believes that it will better suit quarterback Tino Sunseri as well. According to Graham, moving the returning starter back into the shotgun "accentuates" his talents.

- For all the talk about Graham's new "high-octane" offense, he was sure to point out his excitement for the defense, which returns most of a unit that ranked 8th nationally in 2010. In addition to the returning starters, the coaching staff is excited about the development that they saw this spring on the defensive side of the ball. Graham also singled out senior nose tackle Myles Caragein as "the leader of this football team."

Buch Jones - Cincinnati

- Unlike the rest of his colleagues, Jones spent no time going over personnel or specific team outlook in his opening remarks. Instead he commented mostly on his admiration for the conference and pleasure to be coaching the 5th oldest college football program in the nation. Leadership is clearly a theme of his right now, although he called it "misunderstood" by many in America. It was confusing, I know. I'm guessing he is saving all his specific football chatter for the afternoon.

- One remotely football topic Jones covered involved his opening remarks was returning an entire defensive unit. He described that it is "one thing to be older, but we have to be better," when referring to the returning defense. The Bearcats ranked near the bottom of the conference in most defensive categories, and must improve if they want to turn around last season's 4-8 performance.

Skip Holtz - USF

- I'll give the second-year Bulls' coach one thing: he deliver a straightforward and enthusiastic message. "We were three plays a year ago from winning 11 games," Holtz said. "But we were three plays away from probably winning four." The Bulls went to overtime twice in 2010, and played in seven games decided by 8 points or less. Holtz, who described his first year on the job as "a blur," clearly understands how close the conference competition can get in the Big East.

- Holtz spent a considerable amount of time praising the university's leadership for their efforts in USF's growth. From facilities to funding, the entire athletic department has benefited from an initiative by the school to become more than a "commuter school." According to Holtz, seeing the campus-wide push has created a sense of excitement around Tampa.

- Speaking of excitement, Holtz identified the Bulls' late season wins over Miami in Coral Gables and Clemson in the Belk Bowl as victories that created a "snowball effect" for the team. He said the way the team came together and finished the season created a lot of excitement about the future. But Holtz knows it is still too early to make any projections regarding the 2011 season.

"From August 3 to September 3 we are going to learn a lot about this football team," Holtz explained. "I think that the next month will determine the amount of success we have [as a football team]."

Posted on: August 2, 2011 12:28 pm
 

Syracuse's Gulley out of hospital

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The last week hasn't been very kind to the Syracuse football program. Wide receiver Marcus Sales was arrested on a number of different drug charges, and in scarier news, running back Prince-Tyson Gulley suffered multiple stab wounds during a fight on campus. Thankfully for Gulley, he's now been released from the hospital.

Gulley left the hospital over the weekend and is at home recovering with his father. It's expected that he'll return to Syracuse some time this week before camp begins on Friday, though nobody knows when he'll be able to return to the field, or what kind of punishment -- if any -- he faces for the incident.

Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said he's talked to Gulley since the incident, but he hasn't gone into any detail into what kind of consequences there will be for Gulley or Sales, saying it'll be handled internally.

Gulley suffered stab wounds to the back and arms after a fight broke out at a party following a group of non-students showing up at the party on campus.

Gulley only had 13 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown last season, but did return 30 kicks for 633 yards and is expected to play a much larger role in the Syracuse offense this season. 
Posted on: August 2, 2011 9:33 am
 

Big East preseason media poll released

Posted by Chip Patterson

Big East Media Day kicked off Tuesday in Newport, RI with the announcement of the preseason media poll. West Virginia was the overwhelming favorite of the voting media at the event, collecting nearly all of the the first-place votes. With Pittsburgh coming in second place, the highest expectations will be on the conference's two newest coaches: Dana Holgorsen and Todd Graham. While Connecticut head coach Paul Pasqualoni is new at his post with the Huskies, he is no stranger to the conference after spending 13 seasons as the Syracuse head coach.

Here is the full rundown of the preseason media poll. Do you agree with the media? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

1. West Virginia (21) - 188
2. Pittsburgh (2) - 162
3. USF (1) - 151
4. Syracuse - 98
5. Cincinnati - 96
6. Connecticut - 76
7. Louisville - 60
8. Rutgers - 33
Posted on: July 31, 2011 8:10 pm
 

Syracuse WR charged with drug-related felonies

Posted by Chip Patterson

Syracuse starting wide receiver Marcus Sales will be looking to build on his three touchdown bowl game performance when he hits the field this fall. Unfortunately, his return to the field is now in jeopardy after Sales was charged with multiple drug-related felonies on Friday night.

The Post-Standard is reporting that Sales was pulled over after running a red light near Midland and Ballantyne avenues in Syracuse. Sales was in the car with his brother, Michael.
According to police reports, Sales was driving a vehicle officers saw pass through a red light without stopping at Midland and Ballantyne avenues.

There was an odor of marijuana in the car and Sales did not have a driver’s license with him but showed police an SU identification card. Police found three knotted pieces of plastic containing a green plant-like substance that tested positive for marijuana, a plastic baggie containing 180 Lortab (hydrocodone and acetaminophen) tablets, three digital scales, a plastic cup with gin and other baggies with devil, superman and pit bull insignias on them.

Police said Sales admitted he had been drinking the alcohol. Marcus Sales had $250 in cash in his possession and Michael Sales Jr. had $747 in cash, police reported.

Both were charged with fifth- and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia and unlawful possession of marijuana. The fifth-degree possession charge accuses them of possessing the pills with intent to sell them based on the number of pills and packaging material found, police reported.

Marcus Sales also was charged with passing a red light, consuming alcohol in a motor vehicle and violating the city’s open container law, police reported.

This is the second incident in the last several days threatening the status of a Syracuse skill position player. Backup running back and kick returner Prince-Tyson Gulley was stabbed early Friday during a campus brawl. Head coach Doug Marrone issued a statement on Sales' arrest Sunday afternoon.

"We are aware of the charges against Marcus Sales," Marrone said in the statement. "We will continue to work with the proper authorities and the university, and will handle the matter internally, according to the university and Athletics Department policies."

Sales was not even initially on the depth chart at the beginning of the 2010 season, but worked his way into the rotation by season's end. In Syracuse's 36-34 win over Kansas State in the Pinstripe Bowl, Sales pulled in five catches for 172 yards and three touchdowns. He is expected to be the starting receiver in 2011 opposite senior Van Chew.
 
 
 
 
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