Costly turnovers continue to frustrate Marrone; Defense keeps Syracuse in games

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 16, 2012 at 12:56 am Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman Two days after his team’s sloppy, turnover-filled loss, Doug Marrone’s frustration is still high. That’s not likely to change until Syracuse starts to protect the football and reverse its propensity to toss away opportunities.The Orange committed four costly turnovers Saturday in its 23-15 loss to No. 19 Rutgers. In a game where Syracuse had a shot at winning thanks to a strong defensive effort, the Orange’s offense surrendered its chances. Marrone made it clear after the game he wasn’t happy and then repeated that message on Monday during the Big East coaches’ teleconference.“It’s what’s hurting this team. It doesn’t give you a chance,” Marrone said during the teleconference. “We’ve got to have a heightened intensity or whatever the words to make sure we protect that football.”The SU head coach said turnovers have been a problem since he arrived four years ago. The glaring issue continues to restrain the program from advancing. Marrone said in his 24 losses, the Orange’s turnover margin is minus-30. In his 19 wins, it’s plus-12.That stat alone proves how much turnovers have hurt the team.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I don’t think it’s rocket science,” Marrone said.One way to respond to turnovers is for the SU defense and special teams to force some on Syracuse’s opponents. Marrone said all three phases have to contribute in correcting the turnover discrepancy.The Orange is tied for 101st in the country in turnovers lost with 15, and tied for 115th in turnover margin at minus-1.67. Whether they’re interceptions thrown right in the hands of defenders, blocked field goals or fumbles, Syracuse’s offense is struggling mightily.It hasn’t helped matters that quarterback Ryan Nassib has thrown eight interceptions in his third season as a starter. He threw nine interceptions all of last season, and eight the year before.Still, Marrone said the team’s problem doesn’t fall on one player, but on all of them because it’s a team category. If Syracuse can become more adept at protecting the football, the wins should follow.“I think when we can correct that, I think we’ll win a whole lot more than we’ll lose,” Marrone said. “And I believe that with my heart.”Defensive dominationIf there’s been a bright spot for SU through six games, it’s that the team’s defense has stopped some of the country’s best running backs dead in their tracks.That continued Saturday when the Orange’s defense held the Big East’s leading rusher, Jawan Jamison, to just 64 yards on 28 carries.“Our kids have been playing hard. I think that’s, for me, it’s always been the makeup of this program,” Marrone said. “Our kids go out there and play hard no matter what adversity they’re facing, whether it’s our record or turnovers, or whether it’s adversity that strikes during the course of the game.”Syracuse struggled with its tackling in the early part of the season as opposing backs repeatedly broke free to gain extra yardage. Correcting that has been a weekly focus and now the results are becoming clear.Even though the Orange’s defense has smothered opponents, Marrone said there’s still work to be done on that side of the ball. Not surprisingly, it all centers on turnovers.“Now we’re tackling better,” Marrone said. “And we’ve got to continue to work to get turnovers on that side of the ball.” Commentslast_img

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