Coach comes clean after loss

Soon after Syracuse's tough 19-16 overtime loss to Rutgers on Saturday, coach Doug Marrone offered some explanations as to why he closed practice from the media during the week. It was known that injuries and schematic advantage were at the root of the decision, but the new details put it all together.

The usual batch of SU players who have been missing time like Shamarko Thomas and Chandler Jones were again out, but Marrone offered that they will both be back sooner than later. The news wasn't as good for Prince-Tyson Gulley, who was mysteriously listed as out for the season on Monday, before the team retracted the information.

It turns out that Gulley will likely be out for the season, and the injury was indeed a collarbone issue. He injured it during an off-the-field accident.

"Obviously Prince-Tyson Gulley has a collar bone injury that we found out about this week," Marrone said. "It was a bad injury that had to get operated on."

With Gulley out, younger tailbacks will have to step up going forward.

"It's tough because we were running Antwon (Bailey – the starter), but we have all the confidence in Jerome (Smith)," the coach added. "He was forced into the situation a little bit quicker, but he had a good week of practice. Obviously Adonis (Ameen-Moore) moves up. This week they did get a lot of reps because we wanted to make sure that they were prepared. Those three backs, as well as Steve Rene, have to be ready to finish the season for us."

Banged-up players in action

There are several players dealing with injury who actually suited up and played in the loss, including four starters.

"Ryan Nassib's hand was bothering him," Marrone admitted. "Nick Provo had a shoulder injury. We even got some players back this week that I was excited about and they re-injured themselves."

But the biggest reason for the third-year coach to close practice during the week was because two cornerbacks sported casts on the hand/wrist area on Saturday.

"Ri'Shard Anderson had the cast and he had a bad knee because he came out of the game," Marrone said. "Keon Lyn (also in a cast) came out of the game last week."

The coach did not want to allow Rutgers to plan for the game by knowing two of the top three cornerbacks had just one free hand. He explained that they would have installed specific plays to isolate the injured players and take advantage of their injuries.

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