Media Day - Syracuse Aims Higher

NEWPORT, R.I. -- The shoulders of Syracuse coach Greg Robinson started to slump early during Tuesday's Big East Conference Media Day event at the Viking Hotel in Newport, R.I.

Robinson knew the questions were going to come and come they did quick and rapid-fire and no nonsense-- and nothing positive. The Orange were picked to finish dead last for the third consecutive year in the Big East. With 28 losses in his three year tenure Robinson really didn't have anything to say about the last place selection. Robinson knows it is well-deserved.

What's going to be the key for this season to see if they can turn it around?

"We have to win. We got to win football games," Robinson said. "I think, you know, offense, defense special teams and attitude. All of those things are part of it.

Be specific? I could be here for days talking about it."

If there is one bright light for the Orange this season it will be co-captain Arthur Jones, who was energetic and upbeat during his portion of media day. Jones, a 2008 Nagurski and Outland Trophy Candidate finished ninth nationally with 1.59 tackles per loss per game. He had 51 tackles last year, 17.5 for a loss.

Jones, 6-4 291 pounds, wasn't shying away from the last place selection and was energetic and upbeat. It's a new season, the slate is clean, and Jones feels that the Orange are ripe for a resurgence.

"I am excited for this upcoming season. People are motivated and excited," Jones said. "The energy around Syracuse and the fans is large, we still have negatives, but I believe we are going to do this. We are excited."

The Orange have had their share of distractions this spring with the loss of receiver Mike Williams to an academic issue in June and the suspension of defensive tackle Brandon Gilbeaux. Both have a chance to return but there is nothing definite.

The loss of Williams is devastating to the receiving corps, but Robinson doesn't think the program took a step back this summer.

"I think those things happen. We lost two players. That is part of coaching," Robinson said. "I think that this was a good summer, a real good summer."

Jones echoed those sentiments.

"We are getting older,and the unity is coming closer," Jones said. "Coach Robinson did a great job of recruiting. That is a big part of it.

"We need all the support we can get to have a successful football program and to turn this thing around."

Jones knows that nothing is expected much from Syracuse this season. That doesn't mean Jones is going to be okay with a losing record and no bowl game for the fourth consecutive year. While there was a lot of talk going around on Tuesday, Jones had a prediction of his own. A bowl game.

"Definitely. Without a doubt."

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