Despite opening loss, Syracuse football can still be competitive

Dino Babers watches from the sidelines of Syracuse's game against UNC. The Orange won 40-37 in double overtime. Mandatory Photo Credit: Kicia Sears, The Juice Online.

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So it wasn’t the ideal start to the season for Syracuse on Saturday against North Carolina. After the defense mostly contained the Tar Heels for three quarters, UNC exploded for 21 unanswered points in the fourth to win 31-6.

It’s hard to get a read on this team given what an unusual year this is, and you still have to cut them some slack for opening on the road against a ranked conference opponent.

I chatted with former Syracuse defensive lineman Tyler Marona about the team, and he likes what he sees from SU’s new 3-3-5 defense under coordinator Tony White. And as a former pass rusher, Marona was complimentary of the Orange’s front three.

Are we in for a long season? Marona says that it depends on the health and development of this team.

“If health is going to be a problem, it’s going to be a long year,” he said. “But if we can get healthy, I see us being in the middle of the pack (in the ACC.”

» Related: Enrique Cruz adds to one of the best recruiting classes for Syracuse

On a personal note, Marona, one time host of the TradeMark podcast, is now the defensive line coach at Newport Harbor High School in California, so congratulations to him!

Editor in chief Brad Bierman then joins me to chat more about Syracuse’s opener, saying that the schedule makers did SU no favors by opening and closing on the road against preseason top 25 teams.

Brad also points out that Syracuse has a depth problem, and that’s no more evident than on the offensive line, where former fullback Chris Elmore is now starting at guard. He also chats about the upcoming decision the ACC must make on the start of the college basketball season.

Brad closes the show on some anecdotes about the late Georgetown coach, John Thompson, while I talk about a commitment from three-star 2021 Florida wide receiver Oronde Gadsden.

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About Wes Cheng 2907 Articles
Wes has worked for covering the New York Knicks, as well as for covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also been a contributing writer for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), for SportsNet New York (SNY) as a news desk writer covering all of New York professional sports, and reported on the NBA and MLB for the New York Sportscene. A native of Long Island, New York, Wes graduated from Syracuse University in 2005 with a degree in journalism. Contact him at wes[at]