We did it, folks. We, unlike most of college football it seems, managed to navigate summer without any sanctions, DUIs or any weird, retroactive transcript snafus. (A “D” in “Stagecraft?” Really, Julius?) As fans, we ought to be proud that. At the very least, we’re associated with what appears to be an actual, clean program.
But let’s shove all of college football’s moral dilemmas aside for a moment to focus on some goodness: we are less than two weeks away from the college football season and can now leave the shadowy depths of our basements whereupon we were forced to endure slogging through the doldrums of sports television: baseball, countless rounds of golf and that weird sport Keirin during the Olympics. (Seriously, look it up. I can’t tell if it’s great or if I hate it).
And, so, as we creep up on the Orange’s Sept. 1 encounter with Evanston’s finest, here are some final words of (less than) sage advice for Coach Marrone (because he’s always reading my column):
Take risks and take them early. Let’s face it: there are no monstrous, fear-inspiring megastars on this year’s squad, which makes come-from-behind victories all the more difficult. Taking chances early in the game does a couple of things for this team.
First, it instills much-needed confidence on both sides of the ball. Attempting something like throwing the ball downfield on the first possession communicates to Nassib and his offense that the coaching staff trusts them implicitly to pull out a W. It unlocks reserves of confidence.
Secondly, it throws the opposition’s game plan (and psyche) into a bit of disarray. Remember the 1991 season? Remember how there were very few stars on that team? Do you remember the Florida game? It’s late September and Steve Spurrier’s no. 6 ranked Florida Gators enter the Dome to face a no. 17 ranked Orange squad that should, by all means, get their rears handed to them.
Qadry Ismail takes the opening kickoff and then reverses field, handing the ball to Kirby Dar Dar who takes it up the right sideline and to the endzone. The Orange would win that one, 38-21, and Florida would go on to win every other regular season game it played.
And let Ashton Broyld run wild. I again think back to the early 90s of Syracuse football, and specifically, Doug Womack. Womack would come in mostly on redzone option packages or when the Orange needed more of a spark than Marvin Graves could provide.
Though he only tallied four rushing touchdowns in his career, Womack still made defenses squirm the moment he entered the huddle, averaging more than five yards a carry— an impressive feat for a rarely-used QB. If Broyld is everything we’re hearing he is, then he can absolutely be inserted into special packages causing defenses to quiver and the decibels of the Dome to increase.
I may be an insane person, but I’m truly expecting great things from this year’s team. Sure, the only truly formidable conference foe appears to be Louisville, but there is a certain can-do scrappiness that seems to be within the Orange this year. It just needs to be unlocked.