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Behind enemy lines: Everything you need to know about Syracuse from the experts themselves

We got the insight from the Syracuse SB Nation site Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician.

Purdue v Syracuse Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Before the Virginia Cavaliers get set to kickoff against the Syracuse Orange tonight at 7:00 PM ET, we chatted with the ‘Cuse experts from SB Nation’s site Troy Nunes is an Absolute Musician to get the 411 on the Orange.

Considering that Dino Babers seemed to be on a relatively warm seat coming into the season, what’re the vibes through three games?

Vibes around Syracuse are very positive right now. Most fans knew that this team needed a fast start to have a chance at a winning season so starting 3-0 and seeing some other teams struggle early has increased the hope that this will not only be a bowl team but one that could push for a top 25 ranking.

Obviously UVA fans are quite familiar with OC Robert Anae and QB’s coach Jason Beck, but what have the two of them been able to do for this Syracuse offense so far?

The duo have made Garrett Shrader into a passing threat by working on mechanics and installing plays that create easy reads. Syracuse is using motion and stacked receivers to scheme open routes and they are moving players around so that defenses can’t key on them like last year. Each week we’ve seen how the coaches have created opportunities for big plays by getting receivers into open space for Shrader to hit them. We’ve also seen a focus on getting Sean Tucker the ball as a receiver and looking to get him out in space where he can use his speed on the perimeter.

What is the strength of the Syracuse defense? The weakness?

So far this season it’s been the play of the linebackers. Mikel Jones and Marlowe Wax are the best pass-rushing threats and even with the loss of Stefon Thompson, Derek McDonald has stepped in and handled himself well in coverage. Tony White will use these three to create havoc on the field and I’d expect a lot of blitzing like the Orange did to Purdue in the second half last week.

The Orange are prone to big plays as the defensive line isn’t experienced (especially the second group) and the defensive backs are often trusted to play man coverage. Teams seem to be throwing at Garrett Williams more than Duce Chestnut this season so it’ll be interesting to see where Dontavyion Wicks as he’s the type of receiver that has given Syracuse difficulties the last few years.

Running back Sean Tucker is the big name on offense and quarterback Garrett Shrader has been on the up and up. But what else should UVA fans look out for from an offense that has scored 111 points in three games?

Syracuse doesn’t have a true #1 wide receiver but Shrader spreads the ball around to several targets. Oronde Gadsden is playing Anae’s flex position which means he’ll line up as a tight end or wide receiver and his size can present a problem. Courtney Jackson and DeVaughn Cooper have operated in the slot this season and they’ve been players who can be counted on to move the chains. Tucker hasn’t broken out yet in 2022 so that should worry Virginia fans as he’s the type of player who typically bounces back from disappointing performances.

What’s your prediction for Friday’s contest?

I know the line has moved but I expect this one will be close for a while thanks to the play of Armstrong. If Syracuse can’t keep him in the pocket while applying pressure, he’s going to present a problem for the Orange. This seems like it will be a tight one throughout but I think playing at home and having a motivated Tucker will be enough for Syracuse to pull away for a 27-17 win.