Today we sit down and talk with our final blog partner of the season. Troy Nunes is An Absolute Magician, along with having the longest name ever, is one of the finest blogs out there. Make sure to check it out. Their site manager and editor Sean talked to us about this weekend's game.
BC Interruption: Syracuse like Boston College is finishing their first season with a new head coach. Can you talk a little about how the first season under Scott Shafer has gone. What are some of the similarities and differences from his predecessor Doug Marrone?
Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician: When you're in the throes of it, it's always hard to step back and be objective. Especially when you were 5-4 and are now facing the possibility that you might not qualify for a bowl game. That said, given the move to the ACC and the heavy lifting required after losing almost the entire coaching staff, a star QB and a bunch of NFL-calibur talent...he's done pretty well. This team easily could be 3-8/4-7 right now, but I think it's a credit to Shafer that he's met (or surpassed) preseason expectations.
Shafer differs from Marrone in that he's much more open as a coach. Marrone played things very close to the chest, whereas Shafer is fiery and has no problem saying colorful things. On the field, Shafer can be more animated as well.
The most obvious coaching difference between the two is that Marrone was an offensive guy and Shafer is a defensive guy. He's put a lot of faith in an inexperienced OC to run the show and that hasn't paid dividends (shock!). Meanwhile, the defense has vacillated between looking like a hard-nosed Shafer D and something held together with gum and wire.
BCI: The Orange rushing defense has pretty good numbers on the season, ranked 28th in the country in yards allowed. Are there particular players on the run D that BC fans should be aware of, and how the hell do you plan on stopping Andre Williams?
TNIAAM: You know, I think that number is earned but also deceiving at the same time. Some of the better teams we've played didn't need to run because they were too busy torching our secondary, and a bunch of our opponents were simply overmatched or too injured to make a dent.
That said, we do have a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball. Most importantly, Dyshawn Davis Cam Lynch and Marquis Spruill are one of the most talented LB trios we've had in a while here. All three are among our top four tacklers. Up front, Jay Bromley and Robert Welsh are the big fellas making room for them while also creating for themselves. We did have an extremely exciting freshman in Isaiah Johnson who was really starting to make a name for himself until he got injured a couple weeks back. His status for the game is unknown.
BCI: Syracuse brings the 94th ranked offense into the final game of the season. What offensive weapons should we be aware of?
TNIAAM: You tell me.
After supplanting Drew Allen as the starting QB, Terrel Hunt showed some flashes against subpar squads but has since regressed against ACC teams. He threw his first touchdown pass against someone not called Wagner or Tulane this past weekend. He's young, he's inexperienced and Syracuse is simply trying to keep him out of trouble as he learns the game.
The good news is that we've got a talented corp of running backs to rely on. Jerome Smith is the workhorse of the group, who might reach 1,000 yards if we can get to a bowl game. It sounds like Price Tyson-Gulley might still be out so then two younger guys, George Morris II and Devante McFarlane, are stepping in where needed.
And of course there's Ashton Broyld, our QB-turned-RB-turned-WR-turned-whatever. Expect to see him line up under center, out to the edge, behind the QB and in a few other places. We're still trying to figure out how to use him, but if he's able to find space, he can cause trouble.
BCI: Many BC fans, myself included are trekking up to the game on Saturday. What is the pre and post game situations like? Bars? Tailgating?
TNIAAM: The pre-game tailgate ain't SEC-quality, but it's not as bad as you might think. You'll find most folks either in the parking lots by the Dome or behind Marshall Street. Speaking of Marshall St., that's your pre-game and post-game home base. Some surefire recommendations include Faegan's Pub (best bar in the area), and Varsity Pizza (don't go here if we beat you cause we'll be flipping your banner after the game). If you're staying downtown or off-campus, there's an area called Armory Square that's full of bars and restaurants, plus there's bus shuttles to the Dome a-plenty.
BCI: Finally, prediction for the game?
TNIAAM: Syracuse fans are having flashbacks to 2011, when we started the season 5-3 and finished it 5-7, bowl-less. We should have won the Pitt game. We absolutely should have. Because I don't think many of us feel good about this one. Williams is basically playing for his award banquet invites and BC has a lot to prove to their potential bowl partners. The Dome is probably going to be pretty sparse given the way recent weeks have played out. And the Orange are so banged up and injured, it's just one thing on top of another. I'm going to say BC 27 - SU 14 and Orange fans can commence immediately forgetting about football and focusing on basketball.
Thanks for stopping by, and for all of your Syracuse news and opinions make sure to check out Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician.