We are 46 days away from Syracuse football’s 2022 opener against Louisville, and we caught up with former Syracuse great Brendan Carney to get his take on the upcoming season.
The former Syracuse captain said that he’s confident that this will be a good year for the Orange on this week’s The Juice on the Cuse Podcast, presented by SNY.tv.
“I think they get it done this year,” Carney says. “And come December, hopefully January, we will be having some fun in the sun and celebrating a bowl win.”
Carney points to several different reasons for SU to improve on its 5-7 record from 2021. For starters, the Orange has picked up several new assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck.
“This is probably the best offensive tandem in the ACC and top 10 in the country,” Carney says. “I expect them to completely shake things up this season. I’m looking forward to them throwing the ball all over the field, especially to our tight ends who have been underutilized in the past. That’s going to allow things to open up for the O-line Sean Tucker to continue their great play from last year.”
Carney, a three-time All-Big East punter who set the Syracuse record for punting yards in a career (11,534) and in a season (3,491), also points to special teams as another factor for SU’s resurgence.
The Orange was one of the best special teams units under former special teams coordinator Justin Lustig. But he left for Vanderbilt following the 2020 season, and Syracuse didn’t have a coordinator last year.
As a result, Syracuse finished ranked 122nd in the FBS on special teams.
Syracuse head coach Dino Babers addressed that in the offseason, hiring special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky, a 37-year coaching veteran.
“I think it’s as important as having an offense or defensive coordinator,” Carney says. “Any coach that I’ve had at the collegiate level always thought of special teams as one-third of the game. I expect (Ligashesky) to make an immediate impact and clean up a lot of the issues with penalties, personnel and schemes that we saw them face last year.”
Even with the new coaches, SU faces a difficult path to six wins. The Orange has a difficult schedule that features non-conference foes Purdue and Notre Dame, and an always daunting ACC slate that includes national powerhouse Clemson.
While Notre Dame and Clemson are likely to be heavily favored, that hasn’t changed Carney’s outlook on the 2022 season.
“I think we have a good shot with the rest of our schedule,” Carney said. “I believe (the opener at Louisville) will set the tone for the rest of the season.”
Afterward, editor in chief Brad Bierman calls in to discuss UCLA and USC defecting to the Big 10, and how that may affect Syracuse and the ACC.