It's certainly tough to get a..."/> It's certainly tough to get a..."/>

Syracuse Defensive Primer


Sep 13, 2014; Mount Pleasant, MI, USA; Central Michigan Chippewas quarterback Cooper Rush (10) throws the ball under the pressure of Syracuse Orange defensive end Micah Robinson (93) during the second quarter at Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

What We Know:

It’s certainly tough to get a gauge on what Syracuse truly is on either side of the football.

However, opponent aside, the Orange have had a ton of success through their first two games this season.

Coach Scott Shafer’s bunch has only allowed 14.5 points-per-game, and has looked stout at times. It’s pretty remarkable how well the defense has played, despite starting quarterback Terrel Hunt missing the majority of the Villanova game due to an ejection. That could’ve meant a lot more time on the field for the defensive unit.

It all starts with a talented secondary. Junior Julian Whigham is one of the better cornerbacks in the ACC, and is coming off a productive season that was cut short due to injury. Whigham has decent size at 6’1/185 lbs., and has some of the best hands around. The West Palm Beach native picked off three passes during the 2013 season, including one off Maryland signal caller C.J. Brown last November. Whigham also is an extremely versatile player, who can cover well in addition to playing up in the box and getting into the opposing team’s backfield.

On the opposite side of the field is senior cornerback Brandon Reddish. While not having the size advantage that Whigham does, Reddish is a very talented defensive back that has produced over the course of his Syracuse career. The Brooklyn native was a wide receiver/cornerback coming out of high school, and actually had a Maryland offer in addition to others from Penn State, Rutgers, and West Virginia. Reddish isn’t a guy that is going to grab a ton of interceptions as he only has one in his career. However, as a junior, he recorded 36 tackles (26 solo), broken up four passes, and both recovered and forced a fumble. Reddish is just a fundamentally sound football player that is always around the ball making plays.

If there’s one player that opposing teams have to watch out for, it’s senior linebacker Cameron Lynch. The Georgia native is a freak of athlete, despite being undersized at only 5’11. Lynch is coming off a year in which he posted 69 tackles (12 for loss), four sacks, and a pair of interceptions. This guy is just ferocious, and will stop it nothing to make a big play for the Orange. His speed off the edge is off the charts, and his ability to get low to the ground helps him shoot past offensive linemen.

Syracuse is allowing 303 yards-per-game with 112 on the ground and 191 through the air. Again, the competition that they have faced so far has to be taken into account. The Orange are defensively sound throughout. and have the ability to rush the passer at an alarming rate. They have five players with at least one sack, not counting Lynch. The secondary is a veteran group that is incredibly talented, and poses significant problems for opposing offenses.

How Should Maryland Attack Syracuse’ Defense:

Maryland’s offense has been hard to predict through three games this season.

C.J. Brown has had his fair share of struggles, and has been somewhat inconsistent throughout the early campaign. Brown has only completed 54 percent of his passes, and has thrown three picks. Now the offensive line has been very unstable and hasn’t helped matters.

To get back on track, Brown has rely on the ground game.

The Orange are giving up 112 yards-per-game, and have allowed 224 total yards on the ground. They allowed a whopping 190 rushing yards to Villanova.

In reference to the Terps, anyone not named C.J. Brown only carried the ball nine times. That is simply not going to cut it against a team like Syracuse. Brandon Ross only carried the ball four times, and Wes Brown didn’t play at all. That will have to change.

Maryland has to pound the rock all game long, and tire out the Orange defense.

Moving onto the passing game, it’s all going to come down with how the offensive line holds up. Blocking and pass protection has certainly been an issue thus far this season. While Brown has only been sacked five times, part of that is due to the level of competition not being so talented aside from West Virginia.

Syracuse does possess several playmakers on defense, but Cameron Lynch is the guy that could wreak the most havoc. This situation is similar to when the Terps played Wake Forest last year, and defensive tackle Nikita Whitlock was a huge problem in the Maryland backfield.

The best course of action is going to be making sure Wes Brown gets several carries. This is a game where you may have to grind out a win, and Brown’s frame would help achieve that goal.