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 read more

Syracuse’s bigs, its most unproven unit, shines in 1st exhibition game

first_imgAfter his first three blocks, Bourama Sidibe remained stoic. His arms hung low and he walked slowly back to his spot near the low block, ready to defend. But after his fourth swat sent the ball into the lap of a fan in the second row behind the basket, Sidibe tilted his head down, as if to hide his expression. He smirked.The team’s star guard, Tyus Battle, did too. Teammate Elijah Hughes, who’s redshirting this season, burst off the bench and threw out his arms, elated Syracuse’s true freshman forward had established himself as a rim protector within his first minutes of college basketball, in Syracuse’s eventual 84-54 victory over Southern New Hampshire in the Carrier Dome on Wednesday night.“He has great timing,” said Battle, a sophomore who led all players with 20 points. “I’ve seen him do that stuff all throughout the summer. … He times the ball, he sees the ball. I don’t know, both (he and junior Paschal Chukwu) are really good. We’re lucky we have two guys who can block shots like that.”Before fouling out with four minutes to go, Chukwu added six blocks of his own. And now, the pairing of Chukwu and Sidibe figures to consistently rotate at the bottom of the Orange’s 2-3 zone. Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim depends on this to be true, because, after the Orange vs. White scrimmage, he said he’d like to play each center 20 minutes per game to start the season.The centers’ play Wednesday night, albeit against a Division II team that played no one standing within two inches of the 7-foot-2 Chukwu or 6-foot-10 Sidibe, at least showed each option could be capable down low. The 12 blocks between them wasn’t because of the height advantage, Boeheim said, but because they were in the right spots.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange needs quick maturation from both centers because Tyler Lydon and Taurean Thompson, the pair which combined to play 98 percent of Syracuse’s minutes at center last season, per Kenpom.com, are gone. Lydon entered the NBA Draft and Thompson transferred to Seton Hall. That left new assistant Allen Griffin with the team’s most unproven unit, a true freshman and a fourth-year whose multiple eye surgeries cut last season short after seven games. Last year, Chukwu totaled 12 points and did not play after Dec. 10.“I haven’t played in a while,” Chukwu said. “I need to get in the groove of playing again.”Andy Mendes | Digital Design EditorIn practice, Griffin works with Chukwu and Sidibe on timing blocks. They functioned as an effective one-two punch in the paint. Though Chukwu struggled offensively, committing three turnovers and scoring only two points, he altered other shots not recorded on the stat sheet.“The bigs definitely surprised me,” said freshman guard Howard Washington, who scored 11 points. “They protected the rim. … Bourama had like six blocks, and that really impressed me.”With about 13 minutes remaining against SNHU, Chukwu posted up a defender several inches shorter. With his back to the basket, he spun and lofted a right-handed hook for an and-1. But he missed the ensuing free throw and dropped to 0-for-11 career. Sidibe shot 4-for-5 from the free-throw line.Fouling also became a problem for Chukwu on the defensive end. He committed two fouls in the first 38 seconds of the second half to get to four total and though Boeheim raised his hands and shook his head at the referee each time, it seemingly altered how he wanted to use his centers.“On both ends, he’s still a work in progress,” Griffin said of Chukwu. “Tonight he was very active, especially defensively. This is just game one for him.”It is clear both Chukwu and Sidibe will need more opportunities with the basketball in their hands and backs to the basket. Syracuse’s offense also needs its inside presences to smooth out the clunky play when the ball finds them near the basket. They combined for eight turnovers, many of which came from traveling violations.“I’m trying to be more patient,” Sidibe said. “I know I’m over-quick sometimes.”Sidibe accumulated five blocks through nine minutes of first-half play alone, and he stuffed the layup attempt of the first driver who came his way. His presence served as a message. He and Chukwu offered an early glimpse of what Syracuse’s unproven frontcourt can be — and needs to be — against stiffer competition.“That’s why we’re here,” Sidibe said. “We have to do that.” Comments Published on November 1, 2017 at 10:42 pm Contact Sam: [email protected] | @Sam4TR Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Syracuse rebounds with 14-0 win against Binghamton

first_img Published on April 23, 2019 at 7:16 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ After a weekend of struggles at the plate, Syracuse bounced back with 14 runs and three home runs on Tuesday afternoon against Binghamton to win just its second game in seven tries.Neli Casares-Maher and Hannah Dossett became the first pair to hit back-to-back Syracuse home runs since April 13, 2016. After those two swings, SU’s lead ballooned from three to seven. The Orange dropped two of their three games last weekend against last-place Pittsburgh and entered Tuesday afternoon’s game at Binghamton (15-25, 4-10 America East) looking to find an offensive rhythm.SU scored just two runs in the last two games of the weekend series. In the first inning on Tuesday, Syracuse equaled that total. The Orange (20-25, 8-10 Atlantic Coast) jumped on the Bearcats early, scoring two in the first and cruising to a 14-0 blowout win in a five-inning shortened game.Instead of throwing ace Alexa Romero, SU head coach Shannon Doepking opted to start Miranda Hearn, who continued her success from the weekend with a complete-game shutout, her first at SU. While Hearn walked five batters, she allowed just three hits, and no Binghamton baserunners reached past second base.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEva Suppa | Contributing Digital DesignerThe Orange were stifled by the change-up in both Saturday and Sunday’s games, but they had no problem spraying hits across the entire field Tuesday. Gabby Teran led off with a base hit to left field, advancing to second on an error. Hitting second, since senior Bryce Holmgren dropped in the lineup, senior Alicia Hansen tripled in Teran. Then, Lailoni Mayfield hit a sacrifice fly to score the second run from third.In the third inning, SU had runners on the corners when Hansen took off for second. Teran, on third, was able to take home and both runners were safe. Then leading 3-0, Casares-Maher stepped to the plate with Alex Acevedo and Hansen on base. She hit her fourth home run of the season to deep center and was immediately followed by Dossett’s home run. The Orange took a 7-0 lead into the bottom of the third.Holmgren led off the fourth with a double and Hansen drove her in with a single two batters later. After AJ Kaiser walked and Acevedo singled, Casares-Maher again came up with two runners on. And again, she homered to give SU a 12-0 lead.In the top of the fifth, with SU already in position to clinch the game with the 10-run mercy rule, they added two more runs. Both Holmgren and Hansen recorded hits and runs, as they were two of three SU players to record three hits. Hansen, now back at center field with the return of Casares-Maher to the lineup, finished the afternoon with three runs, three hits and three RBIs.The Orange travel to Atlanta this weekend for a three-game set with Georgia Tech. The first game is Friday at 4 p.m.center_img Commentslast_img read more