Newport, R.I. — A quick take on Syracuse’s final Big East football media day at the Hotel Viking, nestled along stately Bellevue Avenue in this tony Atlantic Ocean home to the Sailing and Tennis Hall of Fame, and a bunch of large mansions.
WHAT HAPPENED: Despite seven starters returning on defense, a veteran offensive line, a fifth year quarterback and the best corps of receivers in Doug Marrone’s four seasons, the Orange got no respect from the media that cover the Big East, picked to finish seventh, ahead of only newcomer Temple. Louisville was the preseason pick to win the conference.
“We know where we are in the (pre-season) poll,” said senior strong safety Shamarko Thomas. “All I can say is this team knows how good it can be, and we’ll let our play (this season) speak for itself.”
ANALYSIS: The media liked what Louisville did to end its season in 2011 winning five of its last six games and grabbing a piece of the Big East title. They anointed the Cardinals as the team to beat this season by 44 points over second choice South Florida. The Cardinals have nine returning defensive starters, and emerging sophomore quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Louisville plays in the Dome Nov. 10.
HERO: Temple coach and SU football parent (son Louie is a sophomore tight end) Steve Addazio was gregarious, animated, and plain happy to be on hand in guiding the Owls back into the Big East after their 2004 involuntary exit. “I can’t tell you how great this feels, Addazio said as he looked up at the huge Big East banner while addressing the media. “This is the new Temple (football program).”
ZERO: Another coach with SU ties, Connecticut’s Paul Pasqualoni, labored on and on during his remarks, prompting one media member to wonder where the person was in the back of the room signaling “cut.” While generally enthusiastic, it was too much detail for most on hand who were in turn distracted by their smart phones as UConn’s second year coach finally finished.
WHAT’S NEXT: For the five Orange players on hand, Jay Bromley, Zack Chibane, Alec Lemon, Justin Pugh and Shamarko Thomas, along with Coach Marrone, it’s the start of pre-season camp Saturday at Manley Field House. After a week in Syracuse, the team will venture 70 miles north to Fort Drum for a week of practice, learning the ins and outs of military life, and perhaps most importantly, team bonding, before the season opener in the Dome Sept. 1 against Northwestern.Brad Bierman (Follow on Twitter @BradBierman)