Last week I took a stab at figuring out what the week one depth chart would look like. Well, Syracuse released the first 2-deep of the year and, with two exceptions, I’m pretty pleased with my prognostication. So let’s take a look at who’s been tabbed as starters for this week’s game against Colgate.
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The biggest surprise on the offensive side – and it hardly qualifies as a surprise – is Cody Conway winning the left tackle gig. This is one of the two starters I incorrectly guessed, though it – like the tight end position – was also the position I struggled with and flip-flopped on the most. It’s never been a question of if the sophomore would win the starting job, but when. It turns out, the answer was “slightly sooner than anticipated.”
The other position I missed on was, as I mentioned, tight end. The most surprising thing for me here is that my pick – Josh Parris – didn’t even make the 2-deep, while walk-on Cam MacPherson nailed down the starting job. That’s not overly surprising either, really. MacPherson was atop the depth chart at the end of spring practice.
The buzz coming out of camp was that Amba Etta-Tawo was putting so much speed on display throughout camp that, combined with his experience, it was going to be hard to keep him out of the starting lineup. And as many expected, he won the second outside receiver job, opposite Steve Ishmael.
On the surface, the fact that Brisly Estime is listed as a backup in the slot would seemingly raise a few eyebrows, but that’s deceptive. Chances are we’re going to see four wideouts on the field more often than not, which basically makes Estime and Ervin Philips co-starters. As I mentioned last week, tight end at this stage is more of a token starting job than anything, since it’s unlikely to be a major part of the offense right now.
Over on defense, I’m happy to say I nailed every starting position – including true freshman Kendall Coleman at defensive end, and Chris Slayton starting opposite him at the other DE position. In fairness, I suppose I can admit I was tipped off beforehand that it would likely shake out that way on the defensive line.
Some of the other interesting notes about the 2-deep include the fact that DT McKinley Williams and cornerback Carl Jones have both already made the depth chart. I think it’s safe to say many of us thought both players would be prime candidates to redshirt this year, but clearly that’s not going to be the case. Jones is a bit more understandable given some injury concerns in the secondary (which was not helped by the news that prized safety recruit James Pierre did not qualify). Williams, on the other hand, is apparently much more ready to play than most of us would have anticipated.
Now, we sit and wait for Friday night. The depth chart’s likely going to be pretty fluid, and there will be players not listed who are going to get lots of reps when game-time rolls around (Devin Butler and Moe Neal come to mind).