Orange Trick or Treating Is a Mixed Bag

Tricks and treats are plentiful for Syracuse this season

Taj Harris
Sep 26, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Taj Harris (3) celebrates his touchdown catch and run with teammates against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the second quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Trick or treating isn’t about scoring the most candy or getting a box of…blech…raisins in your Halloween bag to us here at The Juice.

Here’s how football trick or treating has gone for the Orange this season.

Trick – Injuries

Yes, I fully intend to beat the injuries dead horse.

Tommy DeVito. Andre Cisco. Trill Williams. Dakota Davis. Pat Davis. Eric Coley. Jawhar Jordan. Tyrell Richards. Steve Linton. Stefon Thompson. Neil Nunn.

All injured.

Abdul Adams and Jarveon Howard opted out of the season.

Some of those players have missed a game or two. A few are done for the year. Other players not listed, such as Mikel Jones and Sean Tucker, have missed portions of games.

Teams like Syracuse don’t recruit depth. They develop it.

Few schools recruit at a level like the Clemsons of the college football world where they can plug and play without missing a beat. A couple of injuries to some key players can cost a team a game. But a rash of injuries that robs a team of its best players and its depth can be the death knell to a season.

Trick – The NCAA

Notice the irony of listing the NCAA in my Trick or Treat column when they should be in my April Fools’ column since the NCAA IS A COLOSSAL JOKE!!!!!

Yes, I am referring to their inane decision to deny Chris Bleich’s waiver request for immediate eligibility. I mean, who didn’t get the automatic waiver request this offseason?!

As Mike McAllister reported, the NCAA granted a whopping 90% of waiver requests this past offseason. Gee, guess who wound up in that 10%?

Perhaps if Bleich was transferring from Syracuse to Florida, his waiver would’ve been granted? Or if Syracuse was a blue-blood in football and needed help on the O-Line, as they do, the NCAA would’ve given the Orange the wink wink nudge nudge, nothing to see here, folks. Waiver granted. Move along!

While it’s doubtful Bleich would’ve been able to play at the start of the season due to his injuries, that is hardly the point. Why the blatant double standard? Truly, it’s infuriating!

And yes, Orange fans, you have a right to be livid over the Bleich ruling.

Trick – Taj Harris

Taj Harris is the one wide receiver who opposing defensive coordinators must account for until some of the younger guys step up their game. But his actions from the sideline in Syracuse’s loss to Liberty simply can’t happen.

Harris didn’t play in last week’s loss to Clemson. Was that a punishment? Perhaps.

But Dino Babers was evasive when asked, simply saying, that stuff stays in the family.

The next time Harris gets the urge to tell everyone that he’s number one, perhaps he should send the message with his actions on the field instead of his hand gestures off of it.

Treat – Garrett Williams

Heading into the season, Andre Cisco, Trill Williams, and Ifeatu Melifonwu were known commodities. Surely, they would be the anchors of what had the potential to be a talented, play-making secondary.

As expected, Melifonwu has been excellent in coverage from one cornerback slot. But Cisco is out for the year and Williams has been hampered as of late.

Enter Garrett Williams.

The redshirt freshman has been nothing short of sensational as Williams has flashed the potential to be a lockdown corner. Just last week against Clemson he recorded the first pick-six thrown by Trevor Lawrence.

Williams has been so good that he leads the country with 38 targets without surrendering a touchdown. And guess who’s number two on that list? Yup, his buddy, Melifonwu.

Treat – Sean Tucker

Go back to the start of Spring practice. Adams, Howard, Jordan, and Markenzy Pierre all formed the Orange ground game.

Not a bad group. Avengers?!?!?! Assemble!!!!

» Related: How to fix Syracuse football recruiting? Move the team.

Then 2020 happened.

And though Pierre is still available, Tucker has seized the opportunity and is now RB1 when it comes to Syracuse’s rushing attack. And the true freshman has earned every carry.

Through five games, Tucker has amassed 362 yards on 71 attempts for a 5.1 YPC average. He also has Syracuse’s only three rushing touchdowns on the season.

So get ready #OrangeNation, because Tucker has the size and speed to be a star in Syracuse’s backfield for the next few years.

Treat – Mikel Jones

Jones arrived on campus as a highly regarded, 4-star recruit. The sophomore is proving himself worthy of that ranking as he’s become a force for the Orange defense.

He leads the team with three interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 44 total tackles. And he ranks third with 24 solo tackles.

Syracuse has struggled to build depth at linebacker over the past few seasons because their best LBs have been seniors. So each Spring, Babers looks to develop a new starting unit. But Jones clearly is cementing himself to be the anchor of what’s shaping up to be a very good linebacking corps.

So, Happy Halloween from all of us here at The Juice. And enjoy your trick or treating, no matter what form it comes in.

And if you’re lucky, it will be a lot of candy bars and no raisins.

I’m sure Dino Babers would agree.

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About Steve Auger 165 Articles
Steve Auger is a freelance writer whose work has covered a variety of topics including sports, pets, parenting, healthy living, local government and human interest stories. Steve’s been a diehard Syracuse sports fan for over 25 years. To this day, the words “Smart takes the shot” still make him cringe. And according to Rutgers' fans, he's "not a take."