16 Sep
2020

Countdown to Camp: The importance of eliminating Syracuse’s defensive miscues

first_imgSyracuse football’s training camp begins July 30. Every day leading up to camp, The Daily Orange’s football beat writers will take a look at some of the upcoming season’s most pressing storylines, players and position battles. Read more on the Countdown to Camp here.Led by Heisman winner Lamar Jackson, Louisville scored three touchdowns in its first five plays from scrimmage against Syracuse. That was head coach Dino Babers’ Atlantic Coast Conference debut, quite the introduction to the strengths of a Power 5 offense. It foreshadowed a second straight season of defensive miscues at SU. A Syracuse football stronghold was once the secondary. Under Doug Marrone, SU’s defense helped the program win its first bowl game in nine years and defeat a top-15 team in the country. But since joining the ACC and matching up against some of the deadliest offensive in the country, the Orange secondary has been shredded. Even under defensive-minded head coach Scott Shafer in 2015, Syracuse finished 99th in the country in total defense. For the third consecutive season, the Syracuse defense is clouded with uncertainty. The unit has struggled for years to limit opponent run and pass games. In 2016, SU finished 122nd out of 128 FBS teams in total defense, and SU allowed 6.91 yards per play and 501.1 yards per game. Under Babers, an up-tempo, no-huddle offense typically isn’t on the field for extended drives, putting more pressure on the SU defense to stay on the field longer. A year ago, the SU defense found just about every way to lose a game defensively. Blown coverages, missed assignments and open holes plagued the zone coverage. In a 35-20 loss to North Carolina State, Syracuse didn’t stop the Wolfpack on third down. Louisville and South Florida zone reads burned SU. The secondary showed how depleted it was in the final four games of the season, all losses, including the defensive disaster at Pittsburgh. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen the ground game didn’t find cracks in the defensive line, offenses resorted to the deep ball to beat SU over the top. SU allowed 45 points to South Florida, 50 to a 4-8 Notre Dame team, 54 to national champion Clemson and 45 to Florida State. Worse yet, Syracuse let up 76 in the season finale at Pitt.Syracuse’s Tampa 2 defense is a zone coverage scheme where two cornerbacks are responsible for about one-quarter of the field on either sideline and two safeties are in control of deep halves, with the middle linebacker dropping back into coverage to fill in the middle. That puts an extra onus on senior linebacker and three-time captain Zaire Franklin.The bright spots: In 2016, Daivon Ellison proved to be starter-worthy at safety. Paris Bennett and Franklin accounted for 211 tackles on 870 plays by opponents. Last year, they accounted for just 125 on 847 snaps. In 2015, no defensive player had more than 90 tackles.Syracuse returns 13 of its 14 leading tacklers from last season. The more experienced defense will be tested against top offenses this fall, including Louisville (third total offense in 2016), Clemson (12th), Florida State (25th) and Pittsburgh (38th). The Orange may have a potent offense, but the defense has yet to prove it can pick up the slack. The 2017 slate provides plenty of opportunities. Comments Published on July 29, 2017 at 12:47 pm Contact Matthew: mguti100@syr.edu | @MatthewGut21 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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13 Aug
2020

Minden peacock producer wants tighter restrictions on crop dusters

first_imgMINDEN — An alternative farmer in western Iowa who tends an apple orchard and raises peacocks and bees is appealing to state leaders to enact tighter restrictions on crop dusters who he claims destroyed much of his four-acre farm.Dennis Fett, of rural Minden, says the problem with drifting chemicals has been going on for decades but last year was the worst. Fett says, “We’ve been on our property since 1987 and starting in 1992, we’ve been pretty much violated by drifting of unwanted farm pesticides, fungicides, insecticides and herbicides.”Fett says he built a tall fence, which kept out most of the ground-sprayed chemicals, but then neighboring farmers started hiring crop dusters. In July of 2018, he says his property was oversprayed three times. “It pretty well destroyed all our fruit in our fruit orchard, it destroyed our chemical-free garden, and one of them violated the Bee Rule, spraying insecticides within a mile of a registered bee hive — which ours are,” Fett says, “and it also caused neurological problems and death of some of our baby peacocks.”Fett says he’s appealing to Iowa’s secretary of agriculture as well as to members of the legislature to look at the rules regulating crop dusters and overspraying. Fett says, “If they look at increasing the fine structure, if they’re given a civil penalty from $500 to $1,000 or maybe even $5,000 or more, that might discourage these crop dusters who come from out of state and are here six weeks or so and leave — and leave their dangerous chemical on off-target places, such as my place.”Fett says the state pesticide bureau has reported a 50-percent increase in overspraying cases during 2018. He says it’s baffling why more farmers aren’t raising a fuss about the problem. “The farmers are spending thousands of dollars to get their crops sprayed either for herbicides or insecticides, but when they’re drifting off target, like they have on my property, they’re not getting their money’s worth,” Fett says. “I’m proposing the farmers ask these people who overspray to give them all of their money back when they violate the law.”Fett says he’s very concerned about the coming spring and the potential spraying around his acreage of the chemical dicamba, which may kill anything left on his farm.last_img read more

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