Robinson Meets the Media in Newport

Newport, RI - The Big East Conference, with 3 new football members, a stylish new logo and a bid to a BCS Bowl game still firmly in hand, held their annual Media Day today at the Newport Marriott in this scenic New England town.

In his opening remarks, Commissioner Mike Tranghese welcomed new members Louisville, South Florida and Cincinnati.  "Two years ago, some people pronounced the Big East was dying.  We would lose our automatic BCS bowl bid, etc.  Well, its two years later, and we're still here." Tranghese said.



In the Media Poll, the Louisville Cardinals were picked to capture the Big East Crown garnering 23 out of a possible 24 votes.  Pittsburgh was second and received the only other first place vote.  West Virginia was chosen third and Syracuse fourth.  UConn, Rutgers, USF and Cincinnati round out the bottom four spots.


Syracuse, coming off a 6-6 season, hired Greg Robinson from the University of Texas to replace Paul Pasqualoni in January.  Robinson and his staff have hit the ground running with the hope of returning the Orange football program to national prominence. Coach Robinson added that he and the staff have "appreciated the way we have been received by not only the city of Syracuse and the Central New York community, but as well as the entire state of New York."  He promised to bring "pride, passion and a commitment to excel" to the SU football program.   He also expressed hope that in future schedules, SU would be able to create in intersectional rivalry, hopefully with a BCS caliber team on the west coast.  He also thanked Chancellor Nancy Cantor and Athletics Director Daryl Gross for "doing what needs to be done" in term of new facilities in order to keep pace with competing institutions.  


The big question Orange fans have is who will be the starting Quarterback when the season opens on September 4th against West Virginia on Piety Hill.  Vying for the top job are Junior Perry Patterson and Sophomore Joe Fields.  Robinson said that "I would like to make a quick decision, hopefully between the 10th and 14th practices." which commence August 9th.   Robinson added that both Patterson and Fields have used the time during the Spring Practice period and this summer to take in and process all the new information that Offensive Coordinator Brian Pariani has brewed up in his version of the "West Coast Offense".  From what Coach Robinson has heard during the off-season is that both Perry and Joe have been "working out very hard, to get to that optimum level" that they will need to be at to lead the Orange.  Last season, Joe was "thrown into a bad situation" when he started at Purdue, and was not "given time to develop", Robinson added. .He also mentioned that the entire team is "on board" with the new staff, "the comfort level "is good" and the trials and tribulations from the last couple of years are in the rear view mirror.


When asked if any of the incoming true freshmen would be able to contribute right away, Robinson said that "they will have a short window to prove themselves" once practice begins next month.


Questioned about the health of his team headed into camp, Robinson said that Senior TE Joe Kowalewski's shoulder "is OK" and he expects "great things from Joe this season", due in part to the tutelage of Brian Pariani, who was a former tight ends coach with the Denver Broncos.  As for Junior LB Jerry Mackey, he is also "ready to go, down to about 240 and is lean and mean", according to Robinson.



Regarding recruiting, Coach Robinson said he wishes to concentrate close to home, saying, "the northeast is chock full of great players, especially in New York state."  



SU student-athletes attending were:  Steve Franklin, Senior Offensive Guard; Ryan LaCasse, Senior Defensive End; Damien Rhodes, Senior Running Back; Anthony Smith, Senior Free Safety and James Wyche, Senior Defensive End.




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