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

Rookie coach Clay Helton to face Nick Saban

first_imgTal Volk | Daily TrojanImmediate spotlight · Rather than facing an easier opponent in week one, Clay Helton and the Trojans will open against the No. 1-ranked team.He first joined the USC Trojan football staff in 2010, serving as the quarterbacks coach for the Matt Barkley-led offense. In 2013, he was named offensive coordinator for the team and nine months ago, he took over as the team’s head coach in the middle of the 2015 season.Now, it’s time to rumble for USC head football coach Clay Helton, as he opens his first full season at the helm against defending national champions No. 1 Alabama and five-time national champion head coach Nick Saban on Saturday.Helton looks to lead the No. 20 Trojans to an upset that would rock the college football world when they face the Crimson Tide in Arlington, Texas. Helton aims for a strong start following USC’s turbulent season last year; he took the reins as head coach Oct. 12 following the departure of Steve Sarkisian.The Trojans went 5-4 under Helton (5-2 in the regular season) to finish the year 8-6 overall. With Helton at the lead, USC earned notable victories over No. 3 Utah and No. 22 UCLA, but fell to No. 7 Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game and No. 23 Wisconsin in the Holiday Bowl. Helton was named the permanent head coach of the team on Nov. 30.Standing opposite Helton at “Jerryworld” will be one of college football’s most decorated coaches of all-time in Nick Saban. The first head coach to win a national championship with two different schools, Saban has won four national titles with Alabama (the other coming with Louisiana State). In Saban’s 10 seasons at Alabama, the Tide have an overall record of 100-18. Last season, the Tide went 14-1 and defeated Clemson in the national championship game. Now, the Tide sit atop the AP Poll once more as they prepare to face the Trojans for the first time in more than 30 years.Though in his first head coaching job, the 44-year-old Helton has guided Division I football players from the sideline for 20 years. Since 1995, Helton has served at Duke, Houston and Memphis as well as USC, in positions such as running backs coach, receivers coach, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.Supporting the first-time head coach, Helton’s platoon of coaching personnel will feature a mix of faces both new and old to the cardinal and gold.In his fifth year on the USC coaching staff, Tee Martin will serve as the Trojans’ offensive coordinator, moving into the position from his previous post as wide receivers coach. Mentoring newly-minted redshirt junior starting quarterback Max Browne will be Clay’s younger brother Tyson Helton, who became the Trojans’ quarterback coach after serving the same position as well as offensive coordinator for Western Kentucky last season.USC’s running back coach in 2013 and a former coach for the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, Tommie Robinson returns to the position after two years with the University of Texas. Having overseen the offensive line for Alabama-Birmingham, Georgia and Auburn over his 37 years of coaching, Neil Callaway enters his first year as offensive line coach for the Trojans. John Baxter, USC’s special teams coordinator from 2010 to 2013, returns to USC to coach special teams and tight ends after a year at the University of Michigan.On the defensive end, ball-stopping guru Clancy Pendergast also rejoins the Trojan staff as defensive coordinator, the post he held in 2013 before joining the San Francisco 49ers. Johnny Hansen returns for his third season as the team’s linebackers coach and assistant head coach. Kenechi Udeze, a former USC All-American and NFL defensive lineman, enters his first full season coaching the Trojan defensive line. Ronnie Bradford, another former NFL player and coach, joins the USC coaching staff as secondary coach from Louisiana Tech.Trojan faithful will also spot a familiar face on the Alabama sideline, as former USC head coach Lane Kiffin enters his second season as offensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide. Before joining Alabama last season, Kiffin led the Trojans to a total record of 28-15 over four years. Saturday marks the first time Kiffin will face the Trojans since he was let go as head coach in 2013, and the first time Kiffin goes against the former quarterbacks coach from his USC coaching staff, Clay Helton.last_img read more

Unusual climate gave Polynesian explorers a boost

first_imgPolynesian seafarers colonized Pacific islands stretching from Samoa and New Zealand to Easter Island and Hawaii centuries before Europeans discovered that ocean. But the details of when and how the Polynesians managed to traverse such vast stretches of open water are little understood. Now, a new archaeological find illuminates the construction of Polynesian canoes, while a study of ancient climate patterns bears on a long-standing debate about when Polynesians acquired the capability to sail into the wind.The first piece of the puzzle is a fragment of a wooden canoe found in 2012 near the Anaweka River on the northwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island. The 6-meter-long plank is likely part of a hull of a canoe that was originally up to 20 meters long and either had two hulls connected by and supporting a deck or had an outrigger—a sort of minihull connected to the canoe by arms—that provided stability. Radiocarbon dating indicates the canoe made its last voyage around 1400, and researchers believe it was built in New Zealand because it was constructed with wood from trees native to the islands. But two features suggest a strong tie to Polynesia. The plank has ribs carved into the inside face that suggest the craft’s structure resembled a similar-aged canoe from the Society Islands, more than 4000 kilometers to the northeast, the authors report in a paper published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The plank also has a relief carving of a sea turtle that would have been toward the rear of the craft just above the water line. Such turtles are common artistic motifs among the Polynesians but rarely appear in art native to New Zealand.The second paper addresses a debate over whether Polynesian craft could have fought the winds to travel east. Now, winds in the tropical and subtropical Pacific are easterlies—that is, blowing from east to west; further south, westerlies prevail. Some scholars have taken these wind patterns to mean that Polynesians must have been capable of sailing into the wind to have traveled east from Samoa and the Central Pacific islands southwest to New Zealand. But canoes with that capability apparently only appeared centuries after the Polynesian colonization of those islands. So how did the first explorers get there? In the new study, a group led by Ian Goodwin, a climatologist at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, has concluded that Polynesian sailors might not have had to deal with the challenge of easterlies after all. Because of shifting climate conditions, there were several decades-long windows of opportunity in which Polynesian seafarers could have sailed with the wind at their backs to travel east and other times when winds favored travel between the Central Pacific islands and New Zealand. “Our reconstructed sailing conditions during the period of East Polynesian colonization would have enabled all of the known colonizing routes, and others,” to have been successfully navigated by canoes that couldn’t sail into the wind, the authors report online today, also in PNAS. And those favorable winds prevailed during precisely the periods when archaeological evidence indicates Polynesian colonization occurred. The wind reconstructions, based on new data about past climate, also suggest that Polynesian long-distance voyaging declined after 1300 because the winds shifted to their current patterns.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)The canoe paper “is very exciting,” says Andrew Lorrey, a paleoclimate specialist at New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research in Auckland. The study enriches the “prewritten history of [New Zealand] and Pacific archaeology in general,” he adds. And the paper on wind patterns presents “a very important result and has implications not only for when settlement might have occurred, but also for return voyaging [of explorers] to tropical Polynesia,” says Bruce McFadgen, an archaeologist at Victoria University of Wellington.They both caution that questions remain. For one thing, the wind patterns paper claims the climate window for sea voyaging to and from New Zealand closed well before 1300, though the canoe is dated to 1400. “There is a timing discrepancy,” says Dilys Johns, an archaeologist at the University of Auckland, who is first author on the canoe paper. She says there is a possibility that the New Zealand canoe builders used traditional techniques passed down through generations long after they lost contact with Polynesia. Lorrey also notes that there could be uncertainties in the radiocarbon dating.Still, the papers don’t settle the question of whether the Polynesians of that age could sail into the wind. Answering that question, McFadgen says, “will test the ingenuity of future archaeological research.”last_img read more