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Syracuse Orange Offensive Scouting Report

By Rob Trimber | October 23
Syracuse Tight End, Dan Villari diving for a touchdown against Clemson, via ESPN.

Syracuse Offensive Scheme: Spread.

Impact Players:

RB LeQuint Allen

WR Damien Alford

The Syracuse Orange run a true spread scheme that deploys 3 wide receivers in almost every formation they run. Their run game is predicated mostly on zone schemes with run pass options that play off of it. No matter who is playing QB, whether it's Garrett Schrader or Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, the play calling remains about the same. Both QBs are mobile and have a decent arm. Shrader was benched in the 4th quarter of their last game against Florida State. So, at this time, it may be unclear who will be starting at QB against Virginia Tech. Either way, the Hokies should prepare the same way. The true focal point of the Syracuse attack is running back LeQuint Allen. He is the workhorse of this offense. They hand it off to him often and use him as a pass catcher as well. Syracuse is a run first offense. They will commit to the run throughout the entire game, even if they are losing. They almost always run the ball on first down and will run it on second down more often than not. The reason for this is that Syracuse really struggles on 3rd and long. Their offensive line is not the best in pass protection, especially when it is an obvious passing situation. Because of that, Syracuse loves to run screens, QB draws, and roll out passes. Virginia Tech will need to be disciplined to contain the mobile QBs of Syracuse.

This Syracuse offense has struggled as of late. In their last 3 games, they have not scored more than 14 points. The common theme between all of these games is that Syracuse got themselves into several third and long situations. Defenses have been focusing on LeQuint Allen and the running game in general, forcing Syracuse to throw the ball down the field. They have a Quarterback that is not afraid to let it fly deep, but Shrader has not had much success when doing so. Wide receiver, Damien Alford, is 6'6" and will be the primary target of those deep passes. Shrader tends to throw 3-4 deep jump balls to him every game. So, between Allen and Alford, the Hokies know which players need to be shut down to stop the Orange on offense. As of late, because of the lack of success, Syracuse has slowed their tempo down. However, in the first 4 games, when the offense was playing well, Syracuse did some hurry up. They tend to do this when the offense gets on a roll to force the defense on their heels. Virginia Tech will need to be ready for both a slow paced offense that huddles and quick tempo if Syracuse starts to string together positive plays.

Defensive Keys:

Whether Shrader or Del Rio-Wilson start at QB, the Hokies will need to contain the quarterback. Both are mobile and not afraid to scramble. Syracuse also call designed QB runs in the form of RPOs or draw plays. So, it is important to be aware of the QB running in this game. The most important key for Virginia Tech this week though is stopping LeQuint Allen. He is everything for the Syracuse Orange on offense. As he goes, the team goes. If Virginia Tech can contain him and put Syracuse into 3rd and 7 or longer, then it will be a long night for the Orange. With the way Virginia Tech has been rushing the passer lately, Syracuse will be keen to run the ball as much as possible. Virginia Tech will have to be ready to defend the run from start to finish. If they can get a lead, that will put a lot of pressure on Syracuse to throw. That has been the formula to victory against Syracuse this year. In their last 3 games, they have played from behind the entire game. They lost all 3 by 3 scores or more. Stop the run, force them to pass, and the Hokies will be victorious.