Syracuse football: 5 keys for the Orange against Wake Forest

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 11, 2015 at 4:38 pm Contact Paul: pmschwed@syr.edu | @pschweds Syracuse takes on Wake Forest in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Saturday after thrashing Rhode Island 47-0 last week. Here are five keys to the game.For the rest of The Daily Orange’s coverage of the Orange and the Demon Deacons, click here.1. Eric DungeyEntering the summer, Dungey expected to redshirt. But after winning the backup quarterback job in training camp, he became SU’s “next man up.” He went 10-for-17 with 114 yards and two touchdowns last week against Rhode Island. But now he faces an ACC opponent for the first time. While a portion of Syracuse fans believe Dungey will provide a better option than Hunt he’s unproven and is just months removed from his high school days.2. Ben LewisAdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith sophomore hybrid Ervin Philips being ruled out for Saturday’s game, junior hybrid Lewis has a chance to emerge as a difference-maker for Syracuse. Against Rhode Island, Lewis only had one catch for -1 yards and one reception for 16 yards. Philips missed the second half last week, but still Lewis didn’t contribute much.The converted wide receiver lined up approximately 12 times in the slot and nine times on the wing in SU’s Fan Fest scrimmage in August. Considering Saturday will be freshman quarterback Dungey’s first career start, Lewis could provide a safe option underneath on crossing patterns.3. Third downsAgainst Rhode Island, Syracuse set the tempo by going 11-of-19 on third downs while the Rams converted just 1-of-11. In what is expected to be a defensive matchup, the team that can move the chains more often will be able to establish a rhythm. In last year’s matchup — a 30-7 SU victory — Syracuse won the third-down battle with a 47.4-percent conversion rate while the Demon Deacons moved the chains on just 20 percent of third downs.4. Field positionWake Forest punter Alex Kinal was named to the ACC’s second team after last season. He averaged 43.6 yards per punt and went 81 straight without a touchback in 2014. Meanwhile, SU’s Riley Dixon averaged 43.4 yards per punt last season. Neither offense includes much explosiveness so the most exciting fireworks might come on fourth down, meaning Kinal and Dixon could play significant roles.5. Staying healthyUntil Syracuse can make it through a game without losing two of its most important players, this will still be a key. Terrel Hunt was SU’s most important player heading into the season and less than eight minutes into the season opener his year was over. At the start of training camp, head coach Scott Shafer called last year, “one hell of a freakish year of injuries.” He changed the practice format to help players’ bodies, but still, it’s only Week 2 and Syracuse has to overcome losing two of its top three offensive playmakers. Commentslast_img read more

Are the Lakers the favorites to sign LeBron James after he opts out of Cavaliers contract?

first_img How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Whicker: Can the NBA survive in the ecosystem it built? AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe Lakers have roughly $60 million in salary-cap space they could use to sign James and perhaps another top-tier free agent such as Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers also are reportedly seeking to trade for Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs.George and Leonard are Southern California natives who have expressed interest in the Lakers.The Cavaliers can re-sign James, but they don’t have the salary-cap flexibility to sign other free agents in order to upgrade their roster. Teams such as the Houston Rockets and Philadelphia 76ers would need to clear additional cap space in order to sign James, another factor in the Lakers’ favor.Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error George isn’t the only free agent the Lakers could target in a pairing with James. They also could pursue Chris Paul of the Rockets, who can become an unrestricted free agent Saturday after spending one season in Houston after last summer’s trade from the Clippers.The Lakers’ attempts to acquire Leonard from the Spurs could prove to be too problematic for the management team of Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. San Antonio would almost certainly insist on getting players such as Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram plus draft picks in return.Plus, the Spurs might not wish to aid the rival Lakers to such a degree.After the draft last week, Pelinka declined to say which Lakers might or might not be available in a trade.“That’s always a trick question,” Pelinka said. “I think other people have said every player in the NBA is virtually tradeable. … It depends on what the definition of untradeable is, but those are hypothetical things that we don’t really get into.” Houston could acquire James in a sign-and-trade deal, but it would require a third team to complete the transaction. Or the Rockets could sign James as a free agent, but it would make it impossible for them to re-sign free agents Chris Paul, Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela without those players taking substantial paycuts.The Lakers’ acquisition of James has been speculated at great length since last summer. His addition was initially believed to be contingent on the Lakers signing other top-flight free agents in order to create a so-called super team to challenge the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Lakers’ JR Smith took fatherly advice on his way back to the NBA Brandon Ingram sees his Lakers tenure with more perspective Clippers rookies key overtime victory over Oklahoma City center_img Kyle Kuzma bucks Lakers’ cold shooting trend in the bubble Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions LeBron James’ decision Friday morning to decline the $35.6-million option on the final season of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers gives the Lakers an advantage over other NBA teams in their attempts to sign him as an unrestricted free agent.His interest in the Lakers is strong, according to a report on cleveland.com, which was the first news organization to report he would opt out of his deal and test free agency. The Cavaliers could still re-sign James and could give him a new five-season, $207.4-million contract.Sign up for Home Turf and get 3 exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.The most the Lakers or any other team could offer James is four seasons and $152.3 million.Free agency begins Saturday at 9:01 p.m. PT, but players cannot officially sign until next Friday. Recently, it’s been suggested James would be willing to join the youthful Lakers without significant upgrades to their roster. He has two homes in the L.A. area and has been spotted checking out local schools for his children in Los Angeles and Orange counties.“The one thing that I’ve always done is considered, obviously, my family,” James told reporters after the Cavaliers lost to the Warriors in the NBA Finals earlier this month. “Understanding, especially, where my boys are at this point in their age. They were a lot younger the last time I made a decision like this four years ago (when he returned to Cleveland after four seasons with the Miami Heat).“I’ve got a teenage boy, a preteen and a little girl that wasn’t around as well. So sitting down and considering everything, my family, is a huge part of whatever I’ll decide to do in my career and it will continue to be that.”As the chatter about James’ grew to a fever pitch this week, the four-time NBA MVP and three-time league champion retreated to the Caribbean island of Anguilla for a family vacation. James posted a video Thursday of himself and his son, Bronny, jumping off a cliff into the ocean.Rich Paul, James’ agent, informed the Cavaliers of his decision to opt out Friday morning. It’s unclear when James might make his decision on where he signs, although it was reported earlier in the week by several outlets that he hoped to have everything wrapped up by Wednesday and will announce his decision on his Uninterrupted website at some point.It is Paul who is set to hear free-agent pitches from the Lakers and other teams.If the Lakers were to agree to a contract with George, who opted out of the final year and $20.7 million of his contract with the Thunder, then it would be a clear sign that James is headed to Los Angeles. George could sign for as much as $130 million over four years with the Lakers.However, George could re-sign with Oklahoma City for $176 million for five years.Related Articles Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Clippers’ rhythm is missing but their spirits strong before playoff opener Lakers continue to struggle to find playoff form, falling to Pacers for third straight loss last_img read more