The Syracuse Orange are hoping that Doug Marrone can improve on last year’s four win season in his second year as coach. As bad as the four wins was, it was still an improvement over the previous regime and the Orange have a good mix of recruits who are ready to contribute as freshmen and veterans.

The Syracuse Orange are passing their offense to Junior quarterback Ryan Nassib after the graduation of Greg Paulus. Nassib took a few snaps in games last season and looked like he needed the playing time to get comfortable. He threw for three touchdowns and surrendered just one interception, but his 52.9 percent completion average is indicative of someone who was more focused on playing safe than making the play.

The Orange have a number of promising freshmen at receiver led by Alec Lemon and Van Chew. If Nassib is able to spread the ball out and get some chemistry with his freshmen targets, Syracuse could have a potent passing attack.Syracuse Orange Football Cheerleader

Leading the running attack is Junior running back Antwon Bailey. Much like Nassib, the Orange saw to it that Bailey got some touches last season anticipating the departure of Delone Carter. Bailey looks to be ahead of Nassib in his development, admittedly in a much easier position to mentally master. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry which was more than Carter, but he still has to prove he can punch the ball in the end-zone.

Nassib will have good protection if his offensive line stays healthy. Their starters are solid, but the Orange have little depth and can’t afford any serious injuries.

The defense this year will be interesting. They have a lot of returning players so they should be familiar with each other and with the 4-3 defense the team runs, but they don’t have any play-makers.

The secondary will be tough to play against and can be counted on not to give up many big plays and their linebackers are reliable too.

The defensive line is where the Orange will have the most problems. They are fine against the run, but they don’t get much pressure on opposing quarterbacks. The strong secondary should give them more time, but sacks and hurries this season will likely be more due to the secondary doing an excellent job rather than the d-line doing a good job.

Syracuse Orange odds to win the Big East: +1500.

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