Ryan Murray is the publisher of Cuse Confidential with Rivals.com. Here is an inside glimpse at the Orange.
Do the Orange have any significant injuries, or glaring concerns going into the game? "This summer Syracuse seemed to have an injury every practice, but as the days closed on camp the injury bug lifted. Two of the injuries that did happen were a dislocated shoulder for Keon Lyn who was in line to be a starting corner for the Orange. Phillip Thomas had the other big injury which was a fractured jaw. Both players are back and Syracuse Coach Doug Marrone has said both will play against Wake Forest."
Syracuse has improved on defense each year since Marrone was hired, but the Orange only return five starters, and it appears there are some big voids left at linebacker. Do you think Syracuse will have to rely on its offense heavily, especially early in the season as its defense faces a veteran Wake Forest offense? "Syracuse does have weaknesses and one of their biggest is their defense up the middle. They return only one main contributor at defensive tackle in Jay Bromley. The Orange also had to replace two linebackers as well. For a lot of schools that might be a huge problem, but where Syracuse lucks out is that they have Scott Shafer as their defensive coordinator. Shafer is no stranger to having the weaker team, but he has some of the best game plans to help an inexperienced team. The Orange defense did not have the talent to be a top ten defense last year, but Shafer's plans put them there."
What kind of pressure is on Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib to execute at a high level now that stud running back Delone Carter is in the NFL? And can Antwon Bailey fill the void Carter left? "There is plenty of pressure on Ryan Nassib, but he would never let you know as his demeanor never changes. He will have a lot of options to throw the ball to the question for him will be can his offensive line keep him protected? If the line does continue to improve Nassib will play well and thrive in his second year as a starter. In the backfield Delone Carter is gone, but Antwon Bailey is no stranger to the big stage. Three years ago Bailey was the go to guy over Carter in a big win Syracuse had at Notre Dame. This year being his first full year as the go to guy could mean big things for Bailey. If Bailey can carry the ball like he has in the past with a heavier workload the Orange will not miss Delone Carter."
Wake Forest's defense struggled greatly last season, and at times have looked shaky this preseason. What are some areas on offense Syracuse can be successful in against the Deacs? "Right now for Syracuse the passing game could work very well. This season the Orange have experience with all of their receivers, a big breakout season is possible. This group along with Ryan Nassib could exploit another teams secondary. The Orange have receivers that can go deep, go across the middle, come out of the back field, it is tough to take one player away because one more will step up."
Who is/are a a/some relatively unknown playmaker(s) for Syracuse on offense that Wake needs to be on the lookout for? "Graham, David Stevens, and Antwon Bailey. Dorian Graham is the fastest player on Syracuse and an ultra dynamic receiver, if he gets the ball in his hands he could go all the way. David Stevens just made the move from linebacker to tight end and he has been the leading receiver in camp for Syracuse. Fans may have heard of Bailey, but now that it is his show he can run wild if he gets in a rhythm."
Obviously Chandler Jones and the safeties draw significant attention from opposing teams, but who else do the Orange need a big game from to slow down the Demon Deacons on offense? "Jay Bromley and Marquis Spruill are the two defenders that Syracuse needs to have a big game. Syracuse needs Bromley to play well so he can stuff the run and force Wake into passing. At the same time Spruill the new middle linebacker needs to help with the run, but he also has the ability to stop short underneath pass routes. In all likely hood Spruill should be all over the place trying to make plays on the field."