A quick take on Syracuse football’s annual spring game.
WHAT HAPPENED: In an ugly game in which neither iteration of the Orange offense could get much of anything going, the only scores came from a safety and a fumble return for a touchdown.
ANALYSIS: It’s hard to know how much to take from this—the answer is probably “not much.” The offensive line looked like they couldn’t block a tackling dummy, much less a live opponent. They were missing some key players due to injury as well as incorporating some new, young faces. Still, given the problems the Orange O-line had last season, it’s certainly not a positive sign.
Ryan Nassib looked good, showing a nice connection with prodigal WR Marcus Sales on a few deep balls, and moving well under pressure. His deep throws in general looked very good. His backups Charley Loeb and Johnathan Kinder, playing for the losing Team Moore, didn’t show much, but they also had the weaker of the offensive lines and were under constant pressure. Do-it-all freshman Ashton Broyld didn’t take any snaps as QB, but he showed off his open-field playmaking ability as a back and as a receiver in the slot, including a 44-yard run after a catch.
On defense, it was a big day for DT Jay Bromley, who sacked Loeb for a safety early and later forced a Kinder fumble that led to a Brandon Sharpe score. CB Brandon Reddish, benefitting from added reps this spring in Keon Lyn’s absence, made a couple of very good plays downfield to break up deep passes.
Some very good things happened today. It just wasn’t pretty to watch.
THE GOOD: The defense obviously looked very good, but again, it’s hard to tell how much to read into it. In spite of the lack of flow and lack of points there were some very good signs on offense. Nassib looked solid, Sales doesn’t seem to have lost much in his time away, and Jeremiah Kobena also looks like he could emerge as a big-play threat in the fall. The offense is also trying to diversify its attack from last season, a welcome sign given how predictable it was during the 5-game losing streak to close out 2011. It’s still a work in progress. Hopefully more progress will be made.
THE BAD: The offensive lines. Nassib, Loeb, and Kinder were under pressure all day, and only Nassib seemed capable of dealing with it. Honorable mention also goes to Ryan Lichtenstein, who missed two field goals of 31 and 28 yards.