Defensive Backs' Stops Anything But Secondary

The newest member of the Syracuse coaching staff has his hands full this week. Secondary coach Donnie Henderson prepared his group to play perhaps the best group of receivers in the country. Henderson spoke to CuseNation.com about the challenge.

Newcomer to the coaching staff, defensive backs' coach Donnie Henderson, was not on the sidelines to aid the unit when they faced USC, but he has familiarized himself with last year's match-up.

"I've seen a little bit of the tape," Henderson said. "Tried not to look at a lot of it because I wasn't here, number one, and we're doing some different things than we did last year, but I have seen it and I've been kidding some of the guys on some of them deep balls they gave up."

The players catching those deep balls for USC, Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, are back on the field again in round two versus Syracuse. Henderson spoke on what Syracuse can do to combat one of the country's top programs this season in USC.

"Well, the main thing is trying to be fundamentally sound and make sure our eyes are right as far as seeing a little and seeing a lot," Henderson expressed. "The other thing, obviously, you're playing two Pro Bowl-type receivers, so I've been talking to them about that. They got great hands. Quarterback's good. Great scheme.

"We're gonna have our hands full, but if we stay fundamentally sound, I think we got a chance at least."

Henderson will have a rotation during the game against USC, like he did with Northwestern. Against the Wildcats, rotation proved to be beneficial, with players like free safety Durell Eskridge stepped up to make plays along with the starters.

"Well, I tell ya what, we had certain packages for certain guys. For instance…Eskridge was in there on a certain package," Henderson shared. "The three corners we had (Ri'Shard Anderson, Keon Lyn, and Brandon Reddish), really I couldn't have rotated them any better. They did it on their own, so I didn't have anything to do with that.

"I told them to make sure that they got it done, so I think that they all played like 55 plays, 45, and somewhere like 47, so they did a good job of rotating so I'm happy about that. That they've taken that and they've run with it."  

Fellow coach of the Orange who has both knowledge and experience with the secondary, John Anselmo, shared that the depth chart does not mean that players will not see time.

No matter who is on the field, Syracuse will have a true test of their secondary in going up against Woods and Lee, who both came into this season as 1,000-yard plus receivers. In one outing this season, they both scored twice.

The chance for the Orange to avenge last season's loss comes today in New York's College Classic at MetLife Stadium, beginning at 3:30pm Eastern.


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