Greg Robinson's press conference Tuesday had an unusually upbeat tone for the coach of a 1-7 football team. In the press conference, Robinson focused on the contribution of his players in the Cincinnati home game two weeks ago, and outlined who would play this Saturday afternoon against South Florida.
Robinson said Tanard Jackson, the junior starting
cornerback who suffered a dislocated shoulder in the first quarter against
Cincinnati, will play. He also
said quarterback Joe Fields, who had spasm attacks in his right throwing hand,
will start the game. Fields will rotate with Perry Patterson in leading the
Orange offense, a formula that Robinson said he thought
worked well against
"I saw some things with both quarterbacks, they did a good job and
competed well," Robinson said. "(Fields) has worked hard all year and by getting
him into the fray, he showed what he can do during that first series. Perry was
involved too, and just because he didn't start, we finished with him. As they
saying in basketball goes, it doesn't matter who you start with, it's who you're
able to finish with."
During the bye-week, the
Orange had two days of hard
conditioning and practices Robinson said. The first was spent working on the
running game, and the second focused on passing.
The bye-week also gave
Syracuse some time to reflect on its
poor season. Robinson said it has also given the team a chance to set some goals
for this Saturday's Homecoming game against the Bulls. The game will be the last
home contest in the careers of the SU seniors.
"I think it's very important to those seniors,"
Robinson said. "I know they'd
like to go out winning. Particularly, we have a couple of seniors who are
hometown players in Damien (Rhodes) and Joe Kowalewski.
Also, the whole idea of the retirement of No. 44, that's a special part of
Syracuse history. We'd like to make
it special in every way."
In order to win, the
Orange will have to contain a
South Florida running attack that ranks 14th
in the nation, and features senior running back Andre Hall, who had 168 yards
rushing and three touchdowns in last week's 45-31 win over
Rutgers. They will also have to contend with what
Robinson calls the best offensive line his team will face this year.
"Our defense will certainly have a tough time
against Hall," Robinson said. "He's a good runner, he's tough and fast, and has
great vision. And their offensive line, all of them are so big, experienced,
talented and quick. The effectiveness of their line and their tailback is
something that we have been preparing for."
Robinson said the
Orange will look for the big play on
Saturday, after success on a couple of long passing plays against
Cincinnati. The plays resulted in a
couple of squandered scoring opportunities for
Syracuse, but if the
Orange can continue to get those big
plays, then it will loosen the offense up and allow the
Orange to chip