TB Walter Reyes

2003 Statistics

Coach: Paul Pasqualoni
101-53-1, 13 years
2003 Record: 6-6
at North Carolina WON 49-47
UCF WON 38-14
at Virginia Tech LOST 7-51
at Pittsburgh LOST 14-34
at Miami FL LOST 10-17
at Rutgers LOST 7-24

2003 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2004 Outlook

During the 2003 season, the Syracuse Orangemen posted only a 6-6 record. They recorded this sub par record while employing a total of ten starting seniors. The Orangemen will now be trying to improve upon that mark with less veterans.

So, the Orangemen will rebuild. Like so many average big conference I-As, they could repeat on this level and still nuzzle themselves into one of a litany of bowl games. However, that will only occur if all sectors perform as optimally as mentioned. Even with all the alterations and player shifts, expect a similar level of outcome in '04.

The Orangemen need to shift the way they finish offensively - a ratio of 10 passing TDs to 27 rushing reflects success, but also explains a bit about why they went 6-6. They have to finish through the air more often if opposing defenses are to be kept in the dark about what will happen, and when. Syracuse already uses a single-dimensional approach to whom runs the ball for them, so telegraphing any more easily-discerned vital info, like what play they call and when, needs to stop. Predictable offenses never do as well as the oft-disguised ones.

This is a transition year, with a new QB and revamped front-seven on D. We wish we had more good things to predict. But the plight of their football from 2003 into 2004 look eerily like the same transition the basketball team just dealt with - their proven leader has left and rendered therefore otherwise qualified players inert. All of the individual stats attained, no matter how big, cannot make these Orangemen into Big East contenders. But, within a few campaigns, this newly revamped (and less competitive) conference could be just what the doctor ordered for what is now ailing Syracuse.

Projected 2004 record: 6-6
SS Diamond Ferri (PHOTO - Mike Okoniewski, Syracuse University Athletic Communications)
QB - 2 DL - 1.5
RB - 4 LB - 3.5
WR - 2.5 DB - 3
OL - 3.5 ..

Passing: none

Rushing: Walter Reyes, 253 att., 1347 yds., 20 TD

Receiving: Walter Reyes, 38 rec., 375 yds., 1 TD

Scoring: Walter Reyes, 21 TD, 1-two pt. conv., 128 pts.

Punting: Brendan Carney, 60 punts, 43.0 avg.

Kicking: Collin Barber, 12-16 FG, 33-34 PAT, 69 pts.

Tackles: Diamond Ferri, 120 tot., 75 solo

Sacks: Kellen Pruitt, 2.5 sacks

Interceptions: Anthony Smith, 5 for 37 yds.

Kickoff returns: Steve Gregory, 17 ret., 18.7 avg.

Punt returns: Marcus Clayton, 27 ret., 10.1 avg.


OFFENSE: Nick Romeo-C, Kevin Sampson-OT, Lenny Cusumano-TE, Joe Donnelly-TE, R.J. Anderson-QB, Thump Belton-FB, Johnnie Morant-WR
DEFENSE: Josh Thomas-DE, Christian Ferrara-NT, Louis Gachelin-DT, Rich Scanlon-MLB

SU's biggest area of concern heading into the spring is the QB position. Junior Xzavier Gaines will alternate in working with the first team along with sophomore Perry Patterson. The two are the team's most experienced quarterbacks, and they, along with true freshman Joe Fields, have distanced themselves a bit from redshirt freshman Matt Hale. Unfortunately, the completion of spring football created even more of a muddied situation with each QB struggling. With immense trepidation, the Orangemen could give the ball to original option No. 1 - Perry Patterson. Despite favorable comparisons to both R.J. Anderson and Donovan McNabb, Perry will undertake his promotion without the benefit of any previous repetitions. While Patterson will not supersede the departing Anderson's statistics, he will showcase a modest assortment of skills. This QB ranked in the Top 20 of most professional publications coming out of prep. Throwing more than 10 TDs would beat last year's team total, and he has the arm/prowess to do such. Gaines is sort of the forgotten quarterback where he's not as big as Patterson or as quick as Fields. Gaines has been something of a vagabond, moving back and forth between receiver and quarterback. He missed all winter workouts last year after walking onto the men's basketball team during the 2003 national championship season. But he's catching up and improving, according to coaches, particularly with his passing game although he has the weakest arm in the group...so consistency is a major concern.

Running Back
Despite their litany of losses, Syracuse's largest returning jewel will be tailback Walter Reyes (senior). In lieu of his 2003 status as the Orangemen's leading rusher and second leading receiver, Reyes will have to increase his production by a minimum of 25% for Syracuse to accelerate beyond their last performance. Said increase(s) will allow Syracuse to dominate time of possession, which will thereby take pressure off Patterson and/or Gaines at QB. Quickster Tim Washington and the svelte Damien Rhodes are eager for their chance(s) to fill in - each has a physical package to match Reyes. But Reyes' 5.3 yards per carry will make this campaign a successful one for the Orangemen on the ground. Vitally essential for Reyes' increased role will be the play of first year fullback Greg Hanoian (senior). While he will be used primarily as a blocker, Hanoian has to get some decoy touches to keep defenses honest. Therefore, one should expect a gluttony of option plays during Syracuse's initial pair of contests.

Wide Receiver
Assuming joint command of departed Johnnie Morant's role will be seniors Jared Jones and Andre Fontenette. Despite Jones status as the Orangemen's lead returning receiver, he does not possess the explosiveness to extend the field as a deep threat. Coupled with the QB inexperience, what Jones lacks will force Syracuse to rescale their passing game. Meanwhile, Fontenette will have to assume the role which was held by Jones, that of an underneath outlet option. While said role would ordinarily be complimenting, Fontenette will also have to excel his production in order to aid the passing game. Junior Steve Gregory, who is moving to receiver after two years as a starting cornerback, is listed as another possible SU’s starter opposite Jones. In 2003, Gregory had 54 tackles, two interceptions and 12 pass breakups. Also expected to contribute will be sophomore Timothy Lane. Lane is the key in this department - if he can become the deep threat that he was in his prep days (Tim was also an intuitive ex-DB back then), everything clicks offensively. If not, eight opposing defenders in the box becomes a regularity for Reyes, and running gains, as well as those underneath routes, become less and less as '04 wear on.

Tight End
Within the framework of the Syracuse offense, all tight ends serve as merely glorified blockers. Thus, the swap of Joseph Kowalkewski (junior) for departed Lenny Cusumano will not unbalance the offensive equation. With that stated, a splendid season for Kowalkewski would be topping his previous two catch total. Smart money says that if this position got more touches, the offensive balance desired takes less time to establish - but do not take this bet.

Offensive Line
Due to both their grumbling style and their inexperienced quarterback, the value of Syracuse's offensive line becomes infinite. The Orange lost four-year starting center Nick Romeo to graduation. Matt Tarullo has been SU's starting guard the past two seasons and will shift to the center position. Adam Terry, a 2003 second-team All-BIG EAST honoree, is also a two-year starter and has been a mainstay at tackle for each of his three years at SU. After joining the SU squad prior to 2003 Spring practice, Steve Franklin earned the starting nod at right guard for SU’s second game last year.
All three are listed as returning starters and will assume a leadership role, and this will be aided by Syracuse's straight-ahead approach. All of these bigmen responded well as a unit in '03 - 4.5 yards per rush and only allowing 15 sacks speaks volumes. The priorities for the line will be to identify a right tackle to take over for Kevin Sampson, who graduated after two years a starter, and to find a replacement for Tarullo at guard. The leading candidates at tackle include juniors Quinn Ojinnaka and 2004 junior college transfer Kurt Falke. This crew should serve as a solid attribute for all of Syracuse's offensive dimensions.

The role of Reyes will define Syracuse during 2004. If Reyes and his offensive line can dominate both the ground and the clock, then they will allow the QBs to develop and eventually emerge as another threat. However, if Reyes cannot consistently deliver, then both the passing game and this defense will become immersed amidst undue pressure, and balance will never be achieved. Utilizing all offensive dimensions early should keep opponents busy and off balance enough to create the room Patterson or Gaines will need for development. If the Orangemen are going to top the .500 mark for 2004, one of these QBs must improve rather quickly. RB Walter Reyes is not going to accomplish this goal on his own.


OT Adam Terry (PHOTO - Mike Okoniewski, Syracuse University Athletic Communications)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Xzavier Gaines-Jr Perry Patterson-So
FB Greg Hanoian-Sr Stephen McDonald-So
TB Walter Reyes-Sr Tim Washington-So / Damien Rhodes-Jr
WR Jared Jones-Sr Todd Lisi-Sr
WR Andre Fontenette-Sr Steve Gregory-Jr
TE Joseph Kowalewski-Jr Alex Shor-Jr
OT Adam Terry-Sr Brent Caldwell-So
OG Steve Franklin-Jr Chris Thorner-So
C Matt Tarullo-Sr Justin Outten-So
OG Jason Greene-Jr Carroll Madison-Fr
OT Quinn Ojinnaka-Jr Kurt Falke-Jr
K Collin Barber-Sr ..



Defensive Line
The Syracuse defensive line has been gutted by graduation. Prior to partaking in a single snap, the Orangemen will have to replace a trio that accounted for over 150 tackles. Amongst the Orangemen's front wall, their lone returning starter will be defensive end James Wyche (junior). Wyche's leadership will be an essential component, and he will also have to assume a chief pass-rushing role. Mirroring Wyche at defensive end will be senior Julian Pollard. While Pollard should perform solidly against the run, he does not possess explosive pass rushing ability. This will impede Syracuse's ability to disrupt all opposing offenses. It will also be an area which their opponents can exploit. Other than QB, the middle of Syracuse's defensive line has to be the coaches biggest concern. Despite the fact that new starters will increase their statistics, they will not be the impending forces recent departees Ferrera and Gachelin were. DT Tony Jenkins was one of the surprises of spring football on the defensive side. For a guy who only weighs 275, he's got remarkable leverage and strength. The move of Jenkins from an outside position to an inside spot is key. He is getting exclusive work with the first-team defense along with junior tackle Kader Drame in Syracuse's 4-3 scheme. Jenkins was initially working behind sophomore Eugene Brown, but an arm injury has kept Brown sidelined for two weeks. All three are expected to play this fall. In short, both the lack of size on the inside and their overall lack of pass rushing ability will institute the defensive line as the Orangemen's weakest total area.

The Orangemen will have to repair from the defection of starting MLB Rich Scanlon (147 tackles). It's his "between the lines" leadership that will ultimately prove most difficult to replace. In Scanlon's void, the Orangemen have promoted sophomore Jerry Mackey. While Mackey's tackles will increase, they will do so due to Syracuse's ineffective front mass. Thus, the aforementioned will render Mackey as merely another insignificant cog. Junior Kellen Pruitt will serve as the experienced one of Syracuse's LB core. While Pruitt is valued as a stone cold tackler, the Orangemen should also utilize his pass-rushing skills. Pruitt allowed to serve as a disrupter spearheads his defense onto another level. Finalizing the Orangemen's second tier will be sophomore Kelvin Smith. Smith is key - if he can increase his influence, he will greatly aid both Pruitt's performance and Mackey's maturation. Also expected to contribute will be two highly anticipated newbies - junior Tommy Harris and sophomore Luke Cain.

Defensive Back
The Syracuse secondary was set to return its entire starting quartet. However, two players who started games at cornerback for Syracuse University last season have been moved out of the starting secondary this spring. Two-year starter Steve Gregory was moved to wide receiver. Troy Swittenburg was converted to outside linebacker. Pasqualoni has said the Orangemen made the moves because of a surplus of cornerbacks. Terrell Lemon and Thomas Whitfield have been shuffled up and down the depth chart. Tanard Jackson and JUCO transfer DeAdre LaCaille continue to work with the first-team defense all spring, giving the secondary two bigger, heavier cornerbacks.
Manning Syracuse's final wall will be the combination of Diamond Ferri (senior) and Anthony Smith (junior). While it is never acceptable to possess safeties as leading tacklers, Ferri and Smith are an exceptional tandem. With that stated, both will have to increase their already gallant performances in order for Syracuse to improve overall. Without accelerated performances from both Ferri and Smith, the Orangemen should have a close finish as the Big East's worse defense. The best-case scenario is that their numbers decrease due to solid play at other defensive positions. But bet they will have to make up for other weak areas, and therefore they will be near the ball on most any play.

While their secondary should remain solid, Syracuse's defensive line may be amongst the worst in the Big East. The emergence of DT Tony Jenkins was a much needed sight for coaches soar eyes this spring, but will it be enough to compensate for huge loses in the middle? The heart and soul of this defense has to revolve around a solid nucleus of experienced LBs and their ability to make tackles. Thus, without superior performances from their LBs and DBs, the results of their offense could be null and void if consistently matched by opponents. High scoring affairs are likely to be on tap unless a quick show ability to stop opponents up the gut is proven.


FS Anthony Smith


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Julian Pollard-Sr Cornelius Campbell-Fr
NT Tony Jenkins-Fr Eugene Brown-Jr
DT Kader Drame-Jr Shadeed Harris-So
DE James Wyche-Jr Ryan LaCasse-Jr
SLB Kelvin Smith-So Tommy Harris-Jr
MLB Jerry Mackey-So Jameel McClain-Fr
WLB Kellen Pruitt-Jr Troy Swittenburg-Sr
CB Tanard Jackson-So Terrell Lemon-So
CB Thomas Whitfield-Jr DeAndre LaCaille-Jr
SS Diamond Ferri-Sr O'Neil Scott-Sr
FS Anthony Smith-Jr Reggie McCoy-Fr
P Brendan Carney-So ..




Collin Barber converted 12 of 16 field goal, but two of those four misses were from 40+. Barber will be vital due to Syracuse's refurbished offense. Thus, he will have to improve his ability to connect from longer distances (field position battles will not go Syracuse' way).

Meanwhile, Brendan Carney (sophomore) 43.0 yards per punt average is strong, but he will have to improve upon his percentage of punts placed inside the twenty. Also realize that the Orangemen ranked 109th out of 117 I-A teams in net punting. Likewise, the special team's play has to keep opponents from again blocking six punts, seven if FGAs are included.

Return Game
Marcus Clayton assumed the punt return duties as a true freshman last year and became a threat right away. He averaged 10.1 yards per return and took one punt 56 yards for a touchdown against West Virginia. Reyes, Gregory and Rhodes all have experience as kickoff returners. Bembo and Ferri will also compete for return specialist slots. Gregory has the most experience as a kickoff returner, including an average of 18.7 yards per return (17 returns for 318 yards) in 2003.