We’re at the stage in summer where preseason conference teams are being released and rosters are mostly finalized. We caught up with former Syracuse offensive lineman Michael Lasker so he could give his expectations on the 2022 team on this week’s The Juice on the Cuse podcast presented by SNY.tv.
Lasker played at Syracuse from 2013-16 and appeared in 30 games during that time, starting five. He started his career helping Scott Shafer to a 7-6 record in his first year as head coach, and saw the team transition to Dino Babers in his senior season.
Though Lasker shares the frustrations of many Syracuse fans following another losing season, SU’s third in a row, he also feels that things are going to change this year.
“They have the potential and ability to make the postseason this year,” Lasker said. “At bare minimum, I think they can get six games, probably close to seven.”
Lasker pointed to several factors for his prediction. The first being the change in coaching staff. In the offseason, Babers brought in a new quarterbacks and special teams coach, and also a new offensive coordinator.
“He has to make the right decisions for himself and the program,” Lasker said. “Him bringing in the (new) coaches, that’s going to make a big difference for our offense.”
Speaking of the offense, Lasker also pointed to several key offseason additions that he says will contribute to an improvement in record.
The Orange significantly strengthened their quarterbacks room in the offseason, adding Michigan transfer Dan Villari and Florida transfer Carlos Del Rio-Wilson. The Rio-Wilson commitment generated some buzz on the program, as he was a four-star prospect and an Elite 11 Finalist in the 2021 class.
The key to getting back to the postseason will be Syracuse navigating through the first three games. Syracuse opens against ACC rival Louisvile, then plays Connecticut and hosts Purdue.
“I don’t want to put themselves in a hole early on to make every game a must-win game,” Lasker said.
If they don’t, Syracuse could be in for a season reminiscent of 2018, when they went 10-3.
“I can see a 7-8 win type of season,” he said.
Lasker also chatted with me about what he’s been up to since his SU playing days. Aside from several professional football stints, he now works in talent acquisition.
We also chatted about his favorite moments in a Syracuse uniform, and what can be done to fix his favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
Afterward, editor in chief Brad Bierman calls in to discuss Athlon Sports, which announced its Preseason All-ACC teams. Brad breaks down the eight Syracuse players who were selected, and perhaps a few more who will emerge by season’s end.