Thursday, October 09, 2008

Syracuse Q&A: Count-Pointer Count

I'm feeling my Kentucky Fried Movie today, so before we get started:

First off, thanks to Orange Squeeze for asking us to do this! The Syracuse sports blogosphere was already our favorite in the sphere, but now I have serious concerns for anyone to ever overtake them. Well, they're not really concerns as I'm quite happy the way things are, but...well...shit! I keep getting sidetracked by this ginormous purple spider in my office. I think it means to kill me.... good thing I only have to copy and paste from the email, because the acid is most definitely kicking in. ( I kid, but it's the only reasonable answer as to why there is a giant purple spider in the office other than Halloween coming round the corner.)

1. Brent Axe put up a story about Syracuse's biggest rivalry games and the lack of a clear cut "we hate them more than anyone" game on the schedule. How do you rank Syracuse's biggest rivalries? Feel free to include Penn St., BC, etc.

In football it should be Penn State first, a rivalry that began in 1922, and went on until 1990, until this season when the two teams met again. The overall record is 41-23-5 for the PSU, but if the two teams do not get together and begin playing on a yearly basis there is no way it could be a true rivalry.

The second I would say should be Boston College, but with the Eagles gone to another conference, unless a yearly game is set up this can not be called a true rivalry. What might be good about this one though is that SU and BC could keep the Big East/ACC hate going stemming from Boston College, Miami and Virginia Tech leaving one conference for the other.

The one I like to see happen, as it is a college in the same state as Syracuse, and if you want tradition (on and off the field) this is the place for it, is Army. I think it would be great to see this happen, but it is doubtful that it will.

2. The Greg Robinson firing is a forgone conclusion at this point, so who are you looking at to be the next coach at Syracuse?

Got a name, since everyone else does. That should be the slogan around the Syracuse campus. I have heard Lane Kiffin (ex Raiders coach, ex USC assistant). Randy Edsall (UConn) was another name being mentioned. Some of the ex players have made their opinion known with a letter to Dr. Gross and chancellor Nancy Cantor, asking to hire Steve Addazio (assistant head coach/offensive line coach at Florida). I like Skip Holtz (East Carolina) and wrote about it.

But in the end, I think what is needed at Syracuse is someone who knows the Northeast and is not taking a step down, or a side step, but is going to feel coming to SU is a promotion of sort. Kiffin is an ex NFL head coach, coming to Syracuse isn't going to be anything more than a "stop" while waiting for something better. Randy Edsall is rebuilding the program at Connecticut, to stop there and re start at SU is something that I could understand, since he is a alumni, but I just don't see it happening. Skip Holtz might want to get into the BCS conferences, but with what he has done at ECU and the jobs that might open up in the South I am not sure that he would want to move North. Addazio, or someone like him, might just be the way to go. Hopefully, whomever it is, it will be someone who will bring back the glory days.

3. Most memorable WVU-SU game in your mind?

While "The Brawl" comes to mind because of the on the field mess that happened with a few minutes left in the game, however it's not the one I remember the most. The one was the most memorable to me was another played in Morgantown, in 2000. I was supposed to go out with friends, my wife was at the door and the game was about 5 minutes from being over. I knew that listening to the radio was going to be ok, but not as good as being in front of the television.

I left the house as the game was on commercial, and thought it was over anyways as the Mountaineers were up by 3, 27 to 24, and having the ball. West Virginia was still up when we joined up with our friends, but when I turned on the radio once again SU had gotten the ball back from WVU (I found out later they had intercepted the ball). The Orange would then drive the field and score to win the game with few seconds left on the clock.

But what made me remember this game the most was the fact that the same day/night (or the following day/night) West Virginia's head coach stepped down from the position, retiring after 21 seasons in Morgantown. I guess the fact that not watching the best part of the game, the happenings after the game with WVU's coach retiring, made this one of those games that when I think of the Mountaineers and the Orange it pops up before any other.

4. Curtis Brinkley has had the majority of the load at running back this year, but I notice a lot of talk about how many running backs will see time. Do you think Robinson is waiting for someone other than Brinkley to step up, or is it just a matter of getting everyone some touches?

I am a fan of the two headed monster when it comes to the running back position. At Syracuse this year they could easily have a three headed monster with Curtis Brinkley, Delone Carter and Doug Hogue getting touches. However, I think that three is too many, since they don't get enough playing time to be effective.

Asking me about Robinson and "what he is waiting for" I could go on and on and on with, but regarding to the running backs I will say that I am not sure who you are going to see starting this Saturday, but I am pretty sure that you will see a main back and then one coming in to get some reps and finally the third one getting a few touches here and there.

5. Give us someone on offense and defense that we need to keep our eye on.

I could go the easy way on offense, and say any of the running backs and probably be pretty accurate, since they are the heart and soul of the offense this year. But I am going to go with a tight end, Mike Owen, who right now has the most TDs through the air (2) and second in catches (11) and second in yards (102). If SU wants to be able to cut into WVU's defense Owen needs to have a good game for when quarterback Cameron Dantley has third and long.

On defense I am going to go with Jake Flaherty, who has been playing pretty well all season with 95 tackles (6 1/2 for loss) on a team that has been having problems with missed tackles.

6. Bill Stewart-Finding his way as a first year head coach or Larry Coker all over again?

I will say that I am a firm believer of recruiting in order to win in the college game. If you can bring in the talent, sooner or later you are going to win. So, for now, I am going to say "finding his way as a first year head coach", and then wait to see what he can do on the recruiting trail and see who comes to Morgantown.

7. Prediction for the game?

In this game, while I wish I could be less negative, it isn't going to be close. The game is over before half time and the final score is Syracuse 14 - West Virginia 37, with the only good thing being that the Orange cover the 24 points spread.

Thanks again to Orange Squeeze for taking the time to answer our questions about this weeks game with Syracuse!

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