TB Curtis Brinkley (PHOTO - Syracuse University Athletics)

2006 Statistics

Coach: Greg Robinson
5-18, 2 years
2006 Record: 4-8
at Wake Forest LOST 10-20
IOWA LOST 13-20 (2OT)
at Illinois WON 31-21
at West Virginia LOST 17-41
at Cincinnati LOST 3-17
at South Florida LOST 10-27
at Rutgers LOST 7-38

2006 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2007 Outlook

In breaking down both the Orangemen’s improved record and NCAA category rankings from ‘06, one can see trends that signal things are getting a little better. Still, the league rankings reveal how much farther they have to go to get back into the Big East mix. Now in head man Greg Robinson’s third campaign, the team’s hand was parlayed in the offseason by hiring new position coaches for both lines after SU’s horrific showings up front on both sides of scrimmage. But solid team efforts have been promised upstate every year since their last winning season in 2001, so a work-still-in-progress has to again be our description of Syracuse football. How much this team can/will improve is highly debatable. This is especially true with a new starter under center. One of the keys to why they didn’t lose 11 out of 12 was their great turnover margin – the defense has the potential to again produce such opportunistic results, but the TO-margin if QB Andrew Robinson struggles could instead tip that scale of luck against Syracuse. Luck is already working counter to the Orange when you consider their top back, Delone Carter, is out for the year due to injury (hip), and three major cogs have been suspended (academics), though, each is eligible to return by the first game against Washington. Predictions about exactly where this team might finish cannot be taken seriously until coaches finish making adjustments and we see how those changes play out against some real foes. That means the four worthy non-cons lined up for September (along with powerhouse Louisville) should let us know quickly whether Syracuse can even challenge for a finish in the top half of the Big East. The great football and scholastic traditions established at this small school (11,000) speak of the commitment to return their Orangemen to respectable pigskin status, and we give them a slim chance to finish over .500. But in this ever-improving conference and with their rough overall slate, Syracuse will earn any wins they get. Consistency within their fundamentals needs to be the goal before they think on a grander scale, so win totals won’t tell just how much better this team should be for 2008.

Projected 2007 record: 5-7
DE Jameel McClain (PHOTO - Syracuse University Athletics)
QB - 2.5 DL - 3
RB - 3 LB - 2
WR - 3.5 DB - 2.5
OL - 2 ..

Passing: Andrew Robinson, 3-8-1, 20 yds., 1 TD

Rushing: Delone Carter, 156 att., 713 yds., 4 TD

Receiving: Tom Ferron, 30 rec., 351 yds., 2 TD

Scoring: Patrick Shadle, 16-18 FG, 21-21 PAT, 69 pts.

Punting: None

Kicking: Patrick Shadle, 16-18 FG, 21-21 PAT, 69 pts.

Tackles: Joe Fields, 76 tot., 40 solo

Sacks: Jameel McClain, 9.5 sacks

Interceptions: Joe Fields, 4 for 6 yds.

Kickoff returns: Curtis Brinkley, 21 ret., 21.3 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Max Meisel, 13 ret., 7.9 avg., 0 TD


OFFENSE: Perry Patterson-QB, Stephen McDonald-FB, Tim Lane-WR, Brandon Darlington-TE, Mike Sklarosky-OG, Justin Outten-C
DEFENSE: Chris Thorner-DT, Luke Cain-SLB, Kelvin Smith-MLB, Jerry Mackey-WLB, Tanard Jackson-CB, Terrell Lemon-CB, Brendan Carney-P

One of the many reasons coordinator Brian White was lured from Wisconsin seemingly had to do with the superior rushing results he produced there. After his first year here (2006), his ground game ranked 97th and the total offensive effort came in at 110th. His line went from giving up 37 sacks in ’05 to 45 last year, and when you factor in their struggle to earn the Orange backs just 3.1 yards per carry, you see why OL coach Chris Wiesehan was brought in from (I-AA powerhouse) James Madison. Only one lineman started every game at the same position in ’06 – junior guard Ryan Durand also shows consistency as SU’s most imposing blocker. Another boon sees senior Carroll Madison land back inside after playing both tackle positions and center. Classmate Marvin McCall seems to still be fine tuning his approach after moving to center in ‘05, while just as much extra focus is needed from/on athletic LT Corey Chavers if the line is to make any worthwhile improvements. JUCO standout Larry Norton bolsters the other tackle spot, though, with four green freshmen as backups, Wiesehan has a mountain to climb. The backs aren’t weak or lacking, but losing top returning back Delone Carter during spring ball (hip) will impact this year’s rushing production since Cumberland-produced Jeremy Sellers has to move back here from his LB spot to compensate. Curtis Brinkley has both speed and strength between the tackles, so hopefully Philadelphia’s top career rusher can make his junior campaign a breakthrough one. Junior Breyone Evans (or any of their many fullbacks, like Chiara) needs to be used more as a ball carrier, and, along with the running talents of new starting QB Andrew Robinson, we feel both could be the keys to jump-starting this unit’s production. No relation to the coach, Robinson has struggled at this level (and in high school) to complete even half of his passes, so his feet (keeping LBs honest) become important to opening up the passing game, too. Coach says spring ball has shown the Baltimorean to be much improved, but being steady (limiting mistakes, as his predecessor did) under center in a BCS-aligned league has to be proven in SU’s first few games to avoid seeing extra hats crowd the box. A former walk-on, backup Cameron Dantley (father is NBA legend Adrian) doesn’t quite seem ready, though, we won’t be surprised if he is seen early and often in a scramble to find the best producer if Robinson gets in trouble. New starters Taj Smith and Mike Williams will have to decide which one becomes more of a possession guy after these two deep-threats proved their (breakaway) speed last year. Senior Rice Moss (seems his parents knew how good he would be when they named him, huh) works well as a solid ‘go to’ third option - his number will be called a lot with Robinson’s need to keep things basic. The biggest and best receiver is still-developing junior TE Tom Ferron, and with depth amongst all of the snarling positions, White just has to hone his hurler(s) to get this offense humming. This should be a decent showing for the Orange O, but it’s looked this good several times in recent memory only to resolve into something else.


K Patrick Shadle (PHOTO - Syracuse University Athletics)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Andrew Robinson-So (6-3, 222) Cameron Dantley-Jr (6-1, 218)
FB Tony Fiammetta-Jr (6-1, 235) Paul Chiara-Jr (5-11, 210)
TB Curtis Brinkley-Jr (5-9, 203) Delone Carter-So (5-10, 214) (inj.)
Jeremy Sellers-Sr (6-0, 211)
WR Taj Smith-Sr (6-1, 188) Rice Moss-Sr (6-2, 207)
Donte Davis-So (6-0, 169)
WR Mike Williams-So (6-2, 204) Lavar Lobdell-So (6-3, 200)
TE J.J. Nesheiwat-Sr (6-4, 251) Tom Ferron-Jr (6-3, 244)
Arthur Kapalanga-Sr (6-1, 258)
OT Corey Chavers-Jr (6-5, 295) Ryan Ehrie-Jr (6-6, 287)
OG Carroll Madison-Sr (6-2, 316) Ryan Bartholomew-Fr (6-3, 290)
C Marvin McCall-Sr (6-2, 292) Jim McKenzie-Fr (6-4, 280)
OG Ryan Durand-Jr (6-5, 310) Adam Rosner-Fr (6-6, 308)
OT Larry Norton-Sr (6-3, 320) Jonathan Meldrum-Fr (6-5, 327)
K Patrick Shadle-Jr (5-8, 201) John Barker-Jr (5-8, 155)



New coordinator Steve Russ has been promoted from within, and the LBs coach takes over SU’s 107th-rated defense already familiar with their system. Similar to what we saw on offense, the line failed to affect foes’ running games (110th-ranked) enough to be an asset, so assistant Derrick Jackson was hired away from Michigan State to bolster this troubled unit. His results in East Lansing were inverse to those here – the MSU line was decent at stopping opponents’ ground attacks, but failed to get many sacks. This is only Jackson’s second year at the BCS level, so his impact has to be a wait-and-see proposition. The line returns its two main weapons – seniors Jameel McClain and Tony Jenkins – to form this year’s nucleus. We didn’t see DE McClain coming last year (see our 2006 preview), but as the Big East’s top sack producer (and league’s second best for TFLs), this guy is sure to get many more double-teams. Jenkins plays light and fast for a tackle, as does well-broken-in (new) starter Arthur Jones. Brandon Gilbeaux also proves to be worthy of his first-team status after last year’s strong freshman campaign, so the line seems improved. Depth up front also looks decent even with the suspension of starting end Lee Williams and tackle Cornelius Campbell. Though the size of the line is decent at end, the tackles being mostly sub-300-pounders could prove problematic against the conference’s biggest/best interiors. The LBs are a new trio of juniors with lots of reps already, and they have the potential to elevate the defense to that next level if they can live up to their collective potential(s). Weaksider Vincenzo Giruzzi had a great spring and this Utican looks ready to maximize his size-speed combo. Ex-safety Ben Maljovec is excellent in coverage (two INTs) and will also use his knowledge as an ex-option QB to stay sharp against the trickery of spread offenses. Jake Flaherty may not be Kelvin Smith, but he can work effectively within this system to make the entire defense click better than it did last year. The depth here is green and would struggle if any injury rashes broke out, but four-star prospect Jermaine Pierce from the incoming class (along with three other three-star LBs) should see the field this year to hedge the reserves. The secondary won’t have to come nearly as far as the front seven after finishing 76th. Still, they dropped drastically from 2005’s results (21st), and they especially have to cut down opponent’s 65% completion rate to impact SU’s win total. The two returning starters at safety give hope of improvement – ex-QB Joe Fields is still adjusting to the switch while Dowayne Davis sets the standard for Orange DB quality. Ex-WR Bruce Williams and A.J. Brown are also keen and make this area a real strength. The corners are both new as starters, though, Nick Chestnut knows the system well after finishing seventh on the team in tackles as an oft-seen nickel. Senior SUNY-transfer Jason Tanner may be the weak link – athletic and quick, he has yet to prove he can play consistently at this I-A level. The two-deep on the outside is not as strong, but is promising. The Orange D held seven of last year’s opponents to 21 points or less, so marginal improvements should be enough to make Syracuse more competitive.


DB Joe Fields (PHOTO - Syracuse University Athletics)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Brandon Gilbeaux-So (6-3, 271) Andrew Lewis-Fr (6-3, 282)
NT Arthur Jones-So (6-4, 289) Nick Santiago-Jr (6-3, 302)
DT Tony Jenkins-Sr (6-3, 286) Anthony Perkins-Fr (6-4, 268)
DE Jameel McClain-Sr (6-1, 256) Mike Owen-So (6-4, 255)
SLB Ben Maljovec-Jr (6-3, 223) Parker Cantey-Fr (6-3, 216)
MLB Jake Flaherty-Jr (6-1, 228) Mike Stenclik-So (6-0, 225)
WLB Vincenzo Giruzzi-Jr (6-3, 232) Oliver Fernandez-Jr (6-1, 220)
CB Jason Tanner-Sr (5-11, 205) Quinton Brown-Sr (5-11, 180)
CB Nick Chestnut-Jr (5-11, 184) Matt Reid-Fr (6-1, 165)
SS Dowayne Davis-Sr (6-0, 200) A.J. Brown-Jr (6-0, 201)
FS Joe Fields-Sr (6-1, 210) Bruce Williams-Jr (6-0, 200)
P Kyle Muir-So (6-3, 196) Niko Rechul-Jr (6-2, 195)




Walk-on Nikodemus Rechul has a foot from hell with the speed to match for fakes and tackling pursuit, but Kyle Muir seems to have the inside track for taking over the punting duties. Net results (21st in the nation) should stay strong. Junior Pat Shadle is one of the top place kickers in the nation – he only missed two of his 18 attempts in ’06, both from beyond 40 yards. Max Meisel may be too short at 5’4 to see the field well on punt returns (shortest player in I-A last season), but his wrestling background proves he has the toughness to go with his speed. Brinkley at KR works well, too, so special teams look solid for when things get hairy.