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What did you think about the offense and the defense against Wake Forest?
It took the offense a little while to get going. I can live with that. Towards the end of the game, they started to click. Antwon Bailey was able to break off a big run. Van Chew was able to make some key catches. Ryan Nassib was able to get some better protection and not be forced out of the pocket so much.
My concern is the defense. I felt like I was watching a Greg Robinson defense. It seemed as if the secondary was in prevent mode for much of the game. Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price was able to get anything he wanted in front of the secondary and most of what he wanted downfield. I felt last year, the defense had become much more attacking, more proactive. After the first edition of the SU defense in 2011, they looked a lot more reactive.
And let me tell you this… Syracuse has to travel to USC in a couple weeks. I watched USC’s game at work on Saturday. Everybody knows about quarterback Matt Barkley. You may not know about USC sophomore wide receiver Robert Woods. Let me tell you: Woods racked up 18 catches, 175 yards, and 3 touchdowns Saturday against Minnesota, not necessarily a tough opponent, but not a cupcake, either. Woods and Barkley will carve up the Orange secondary. The only saving grace is that, after the first week, USC looks like it’ll have trouble getting anyone else very involved in the offense.
What does the Wake Forest win mean for the Orange?
I think, for the most part, the win is a positive step.
I mean, you could look at it and say Syracuse never should have been in position to have to come back from down 15 points with 11 minutes to play and eek out an overtime win against Wake Forest.
But, on the other hand, when’s the last time we could say with any sort of confidence that a Syracuse football team could pull off such a feat? And to be honest, watching the game, I had some sort of calmness about me that they would make a run like they did at the end of the game. Again… a pretty foreign feeling when it comes to Orange football.
Give credit to the players. They’re the ones that pulled off the comeback. But, everything about this team reflects back on Doug Marrone. You felt he had things going in the right direction when he got the team to 4-8 after his first year. You felt the program was making strides after an 8-5 season last year, complete with a bowl victory over Kansas State. After one game in 2011, Marrone has instilled a “never say die” attitude in this team and it manifested itself Thursday night. That bodes well going forward this season and beyond.
Matt Dagostino currently works as an on-air talent and producer for Turner Sports in Atlanta. Among his responsibilities are voicing over highlights for NCAA.com, NBA.com, WNBA.com, and PGA.com. He has also served as an associate producer for TNT’s coverage of the NBA Playoffs and TBS’s coverage of the MLB Postseason. Matt also has experience as a minor league baseball play-by-play announcer and as a PA announcer in D-I college athletics.