We’ll take that as a positive.
Over the weekend, Syracuse Orange football had its second (and final) scrimmage of the offseason. And surprisingly, it was the defense that truly dominated the proceedings. Afterward, head coach Dino Babers called it "... the most defensive-oriented scrimmage that (he has) ever been a part of."
Syracuse ran 135 plays in 85 minutes, but the offense was picked off six separate times. Two of those came from the linebacker position, as Kielan Whitner and Parris Bennett both made red zone stops to prevent scores. Other picks were collected by Carl Jones, Jordan Martin, Ifeatu Melifonwu and walk-on Kevin Nusdeo. Three of the six interceptions coming from newcomers? Not bad at all.
On the offensive end, the Orange tallied just four scores. Clayton Welch and Zack Mahoney each tossed touchdowns through the air. Meanwhile, Otto Zaccardo and Allen Stritzinger were responsible for the team’s two rushing touchdowns.
The passing game was under attack all game, it would appear. Along with the six interceptions mentioned earlier, the defense also picked up four sacks.
We’ve discussed how critical it will be to see defensive improvement this year, and the offseason results certainly seem to indicate there’s been some progress there. Even going back to the spring game, the Orange defense has looked like they’ve taken a few steps forward. Now we just have to hope that’s the case — versus a surprising step backward for the offense.
This is the final week of practice before game week vs. Central Connecticut State begins. IT’S ALMOST FOOTBALL SEASON.