Onion Juice: Syracuse coach Doug Marrone fixes ‘red zone problem’

Problem solved. You're welcome.

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Coming off its worst offensive outputs of the season, Syracuse coach Doug Marrone is ordering his team to stop at the 21 yard line on drives so they don’t have to try to score in the red zone.

Problem solved. You’re welcome.

The move comes after Syracuse was stuffed on four consecutive tries inside the five yard line against Stony Brook and Ryan Nassib was intercepted inside the 10 yard line by Minnesota. The Orange scored just 10 points in a 17-10 loss to Minnesota on Sept. 22.

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“We’re always looking for ways of getting an edge and improvement our team, so from that standpoint, I think this is going to be a big advantage for us,” Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said. “We can’t score inside the red zone. So the solution is obviously to stand at the 21 yard line and have Ryan [Nassib] fire away into the end zone. Problem solved.”

As part of implementing this new offensive scheme, Syracuse spent its bye week perfecting this technique.

“Wait, so we’re not going to run a sweep play on second and goal from the 1 yard line?” running back Jerome Smith was overheard asking. “I guess you’re right, that is a better play call.”

If Syracuse advances past the 21 yard at any point, the team has been instructed to commit some kind of penalty to retreat back to the green zone.

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“I’ve been doing that for four weeks already,” a Syracuse offensive lineman said. “I don’t even need to practice committing penalties anymore.”

Another play Syracuse has been practicing for these situations is to take a delay of game penalty.

“I first I thought, let’s sweep it with Jerome Smith to lose the 5 yards,” Marrone said. “But then I realized, we can just take a delay of game and not have to lose the down! That’s coaching.”

Story by Nate Federman and Wesley Cheng.

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