Carney: Still reasons to be optimistic about Syracuse football in 2021

Sean Tucker
Sep 26, 2020; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange running back Sean Tucker (34) celebrates his touchdown run with teammates against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the first quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports.

There’s no denying that Syracuse football had a terrible, no good, very bad, football season. The 1-10 record speaks for itself, as Dino Babers and company finished near the bottom of the FBS in nearly every offensive category, including passing (110), rushing (123) and points (127).

But even in a one-win season, there were still several positive takeaways. I chatted with former Syracuse football captain and two-time All Big East punter Brendan Carney to get his perspective on The Juice on the Cuse podcast.

For starters, this will be an important offseason for the Orange, Carney said. They’ll get to work with their new coordinators and learn the new schemes in a more controlled setting, but resetting the mentality will be just as important.

“When you’ve lost a lot, it’s hard to imaging yourself winning,” Carney said. “To win games, they have to as a team believe they can win, and that takes leadership.”

Syracuse certainly has the talent to make a quick turnaround. Carney pointed to the progress of the linebackers and the secondary, and singled out underclassmen like Rob Hanna, Mikel Jones and Garrett Williams. Even with an offense that frequently left the defense on the field, the Orange still managed to finish 38th in the FBS at 32.7 points against per game.

“A lot of them are very young and they’ll be around for a while. It’s important that they stay together and they stay positive,” Carney said. “This is going to be a really good opportunity to see what they’re all about in terms of a character perspective in getting things turned around.”

“”You see a lot of fight in these young guys. I’m eager to watch their progress over the next few months going into the 2021 season.”

The main issue in the offseason will be addressing the offensive line and quarterback positions. Tommy DeVito and Airon Servais both announced this week they will be returning in 2021, and left guard Chris Bleich will be eligible after sitting out his transfer year following his departure from Florida.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that if we can get the quarterback and offensive line positions fixed that we can see more production out of our skill players and hopefully get some wins next year,” Carney said.

» Related: It’s our 10th birthday here at The Juice Online

TJO Editor in Chief Brad Bierman then calls into to the podcast to chat about Syracuse’s frustrating loss to Rutgers in the Big 10/ACC Challenge. The Orange held a narrow 3-point lead with around five minutes to go before the Scarlet Knights went on an 11-0 run to close out the game. Joe Girard III also continued his sophomore slump, as he shot just 1-8 from the field, including three missed 3-pointers in the final five minutes.

Brad closes with his thoughts on the struggles of broadcasters with the most recent COVID restrictions, while I chat about the 10 (!!!) year anniversary of The Juice Online. For all of you reading, we moved The Juice Magazine to the online format on December 10, 2010. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Catch up on all episodes of “The Juice on the Cuse Podcast,” a Syracuse Orange podcast, by subscribing to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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About Wes Cheng 2662 Articles
Wes has worked for Rivals.com covering the New York Knicks, as well as for Scout.com covering Syracuse athletics. Wes has also worked for the South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) 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. Follow him on Twitter @ChengWes.