August 4, 2008

Questions about the offense highlight Media Day

Every year before a college program starts its season they hold their annual media day. Yesterday the Syracuse Orange held their media day and the talk was very one sided, instead of talking about offense and defense most of the questions with Orange Coach Greg Robinson where based on the offense.

The one position on the offensive side of the ball that seems to be the center of attention is the offensive line. Even though the unit has struggled the past couple of years Robinson feels that the level of play is about to pick up.

"I really think that we have seven to eight players that could go into a football game and perform for us. Of those we have two senior Ryan Durand and Corey Chavers and we have a number of younger players, redshirt sophomores and they have been in this program for a number of years and they have had a lot of coaching," Robinson said. "I think there is talent in the offensive line."

Besides the offensive line a few other players will be called upon to help with the blocking schemes and the Orange coaches are extremely confident in the abilities they have.

"I look at the tight end position and I like the tight end position, the H-back or the fullback position that gets included. I know the way we are trying to utilize those players on offense and I think that is a group that can be good for us. I think we can utilize the skills of those people."

While Robinson and his staff wait for the offensive line to come around they have other positions that are loaded with experience and talent. One of those positions is the running backs, as they welcome back Delone Carter and Curtis Brinkley.

"I think the running back position is as strong as it has been at Syracuse in a number of years. I think the depth that we have and the different type of talent to come out of that position could be a positive."

Brinkley and Carter are coming back from injuries and Robinson was straight forward when talking about their overall health.

"They [Curtis Brinkley and Delone Carter] are both 100 percent."

Freshman running back Averin Collier is not one ready to go yet, but at his press conference yesterday Robinson did have good news to share about the highest rated incoming freshmen from the 2008 class.

"I got good news on Averin yesterday and we might see him on the practice field sooner than we thought. That is a credit to Averin and that does not surprise me because that is the way he has been since the day he got here."

At the end of last season the wide receivers was the strongest position, but the Orange lost their top wide receivers. Now an unproven group has some big shoes to fill this season.

"I think that the receiver's position, I think there is talent there. I think the talent just needs to emerge, I think that there are a number of players who could emerge," Robinson stated. "Lavar [Lobdell] was a very highly recruited player and we talked about his potential. We would love to see Lavar come on and have a fine year. We got Donte Davis back and he is a nifty receiver that can get down field and he is a disciplined route runner. Danny Sheeran is a big physical wide receiver in the mold of Ed McCaffrey. Chaz Cervino is a player that improved in spring ball; his style is more of a Wayne Chrebet or Wes Welker type of football player."

Over the years Robinson said that he sees cornerbacks and wide receivers as the easiest positions to make transitions to when a player moves up from high school to college. This year Syracuse has two highly regarded freshmen receivers in Marcus Sales and Trey Fairchild.

"We have freshmen that I am looking forward to seeing what they can do. Marcus Sales has been around the program for a period of time, he has been around these players and I am interested to see can he make an impact. I think Trey Fairchild came from a program where he had a very fine career. I think through his track times and things that he has done in track you know that he is a fine athlete, so I am interested to see how he can impact us."

Going into this season there is little doubt about who the starting quarterback will be as Andrew Robinson returns for his junior season.. Also like the other offensive positions Robinson sees his quarterback unit as a real strength of his team.

"I also think that the quarterback situation is as strong as it has been in years, since I have been here. Andrew Robinson is a returning football player that at times did some good things. Last year I think he was under duress and never folded. I think he will be better because of that. I think all of those quarterbacks that have been in our program now be it Cam Dantley, David Legree or Cody Catalina they have all been coached for a year and I think they will be better."

This season Robinson seems pretty confident in his offense and his confidence is shown, by what he feels is the goal of this team.

"We have talked in the past about how the ultimate goal is to win a BCS bowl game. I think realistically [the goal for] this team is to win a bowl game. Not just getting to a bowl game, but to win a bowl game would definitely be an accomplishment for this team," Robinson added. "The time for talking is over. The time for doing is right now, it is time to do it."

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