Syracuse’s secondary prepares to face Maryland threats Diggs, Long

first_imgWhen Syracuse beat Maryland in College Park, Maryland, last season, C.J. Brown was handcuffed. But the quarterback, who will lead the Terrapins (2-1) into the Carrier Dome for a 12:30 p.m. date with the Orange (2-0) on Saturday, was without Stefon Diggs and Deon Long in that game, which isn’t the case this time around. “The hard thing is when you have two explosive receivers you can’t take one out. If they had a Randy Moss, you try to take him out,” SU defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough said. “But they have two guys, so you’ve just got to play your defense and get some good pass rush and hopefully we get to the quarterback.”Long broke both his tibia and smaller-size fibula while Diggs left the game with a broken fibula when Maryland lost to 34-10 at Wake Forest, but the takeaway was that Diggs and Long would both miss the rest of the season with left leg injuries.That started two rehab processes that, in a handful of ways, Diggs and Long took on together. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDiggs has since returned to the slot and Long has resumed his role as the Terrapins’ primary deep threat as both re-establish themselves as tough covers. Long caught a 41-yard pass in a season-opening win over James Madison and Diggs caught a 77-yard touchdown pass in a loss to West Virginia last week.To add another layer to UMD’s receiving corps, junior Marcus Leak caught two scores in a Week 2 win over South Florida.“Stefon Diggs, I don’t know what kind of athletes that — but you know they’re there,” Syracuse junior cornerback Julian Whigham said. “That Long kid, you see him on tape, you know he’s good. We watch him like, ‘Oh, they’re supposed to be pretty good.’”Whigham said on Tuesday that he’ll match up with Long on the outside while the Orange’s formation on a given play will dictate who’s covering Diggs. It’s a set of weapons Syracuse hasn’t had to account for this season, which will place a higher emphasis on the pass rush and secondary communication. “You’re right, we haven’t played those type of receivers, but no matter who we play, that’s how we’re going to play,” SU safety Durell Eskridge said. “We’re going to come out tough, hard-nosed and physical and be ready to play with any receiver and put our hands on any receiver, no matter who they are.”SU head coach Scott Shafer isn’t one to talk too much about any opposing player, let alone a pair of receivers. He’s been asked to draw comparisons between Brown and Villanova quarterback John Robertson throughout the week, which has ended with him pushing the focus to the Terrapins as a team.But Whigham did say that Shafer, a former defensive coordinator, has been keen on planning for Diggs and Long, even if the head coach wants to keep that between him and his team. “I mean you just state the facts, they’re good football players that have good numbers. You turn on the tape and you can see that,” Shafer said. “You know you need to get after those guys, but I haven’t talked about them too much more than that, the film won’t lie.“Those guys are good players. We’ve got a hell of a task in front of us.” Comments Published on September 19, 2014 at 12:13 am Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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