Former Syracuse and NFL linebacker Rich Scanlon has high aspirations for the Orange in 2021.
Despite coming off a 1-10 season, Scanlon believes SU will be ‘much improved’ this year and has the potential to be a bowl team.
“The beginning of the year, I always have a ton of optimism,” Scanlon said on this week’s The Juice on the Cuse Podcast, presented by SNY.tv. “Syracuse before has proven over the past 5-10 years we can go from 1-10 to 8-3 or 7-4 and get to a bowl game. That’s always my aspiration and expectation of this team.”
Scanlon was an All-Big East linebacker who played with the Orange from 2000-2003. He finished his collegiate playing career eighth on SU’s career tackles for a loss list with 22.5 tackles for a loss of 92 yards.
Scanlon’s favorite memory from Syracuse was a Sept. 22, 2001 game against Auburn, following the tragic events of 9/11.
“It was the first game back after 9/11 happened,” Scanlon said. “We were New York’s College Team, and the governor (George Pataki) was there. It was an electric environment. The defense had a great game. That’s a memory that really sticks out to me.”
Scanlon was part of a staunch defense that held the Tigers to just two scores in a 31-14 win. The defense forced five turnovers in that game as Dwight Freeney led the way with two forced fumbles.
SU would go on to finish 10-3 that season and 14th overall in the AP and Coach’s Polls with a win in the Insight.com Bowl. It ultimately turned out to be Paul Pasqualoni’s final bowl win as Orange head coach.
After Syracuse, Scanlon went on to a five-year NFL career with the Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans and New York Giants before retiring following the 2008 season.
Following his NFL career, Scanlon received his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania, and currently is the CEO of ImageQuix, a photo technology software company.
“We give a platform for photographers to sell their photos online,” Scanlon said, “and also give them the software to manage their photos.”
Scanlon still plays very close attention to Syracuse, and likes what he sees from Tony White’s revamped 3-3-5 defense.
“Offenses are spreading people out, so you need more athletes on the field to cover the space,” Scanlon said. “I thought they played well last year. I’m proud of how the defense has grown their talent level.”
Afterwards, The Juice Online senior columnist Jim Stechschulte calls in to do a position-by-position breakdown of the 2021 Syracuse football team.