Syracuse is exploring new ways to get to the quarterback

first_imgTwo North Carolina State offensive linemen met Kendall Coleman at the line of scrimmage. The left tackle chipped Coleman, slowing down his start off the snap. As Syracuse’s co-leader in sacks spun inside, the ball left Ryan Finley’s hands for a 67-yard Wolfpack touchdown.But teams focusing on Coleman and fellow sacks leader Alton Robinson has led to pass rushing opportunities from other players.A third down two series later, Syracuse blitzed two linebackers while North Carolina State held in six blockers. The blockers should’ve negated the rush. But upon the snap Robinson crashed inside and brought both the tackle and guard with him. Robinson’s quick jump opened up space for linebackers Kielan Whitner and Andrew Armstrong on the outside, with one NC State running back to beat.  The back chose to block Armstrong, allowing Whitner to run free through the hole Robinson and his opposing lineman left. Whitner went untouched through the backfield and forced an erroneous pass from Finley.“Those guys do such a great job on the outside, it kind of frees us up,” Whitner said. “It either leaves us with one on ones or leaves us with a back and that’s a better matchup for us than a guard or a tackle.”Throughout the matchup on Oct. 27, in which Syracuse recorded one sack for the second consecutive game, the Orange faced six, seven or eight-man blocking schemes. As the season has carried on, No. 13 Syracuse (7-2, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) has seen “different protections and quicker passes,” Coleman said. Both he and defensive end Robinson entered the bye in Week 7 with six sacks, ranking each top-10 nationally. In SU’s last three games, the duo has tallied one sack each.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I mean the sacks are out there. We just got to find a way to go get them,” Coleman said Oct. 30 prior to the Wake Forest game. “If they’re putting the ball in the air, that means that there’s a chance. So statistically that still falls back on us, but we’re getting different looks and that’s something that we got to adjust to and play through.”Laura Angle| Digital Design EditorAt times this year, both Coleman and Robinson have utilized speed rushes on the outside. Coleman called he and Robinson’s pursuit of a sack a “race to the quarterback.” But when teams add linemen, Syracuse adjusts its schemes.Against Wake Forest, as the opposing offensive line again struggled to contain Robinson and Coleman, the Syracuse defense broke through for more than just quarterback pressures. In the first quarter, Coleman rushed off the outside edge. As Coleman closed in on Sam Hartman, the freshman quarterback stepped up in the pocket. He had little room to maneuver. Kenneth Ruff powered his way through his guard and downed Hartman for a sack.The situation repeated itself on several occasions, leading to four sacks from a backup defensive linemen, a linebacker and a safety. When Hartman tried to escape the rush in the first quarter, middle linebacker Ryan Guthrie grabbed Hartman by the ankles. As Hartman held onto the ball too long later in the quarter, safety Evan Foster took the quarterback down.In the second quarter, Coleman fired off before the left tackle in front of him and ripped inside. Hartman scrambled. Moving outside and away from the protection of his linemen, Hartman stood exposed. Guthrie pounced and sank Hartman into the ground for an 11-yard loss.Guthrie finished the game with two sacks and Syracuse’s season total increased to 27. Tied for 16th best in the nation, SU has 11 more sacks than it did in 2017. As the season has carried on, it hasn’t been because of the unit’s premier pass rushers. And they don’t care.“I feel like we’ve created the image that we are such a threat that it’s caused the other team to change the offense a little bit, and I’m fine with that,” Coleman said. Published on November 7, 2018 at 10:12 pm Contact Josh: jlschafe@syr.edu | @Schafer_44 Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

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