Syracuse will have one less veteran pass blocker to worry about this Saturday when they attempt to pressure Geno Smith in the Bronx.
Veteran center Joe Madsen has not made the trip to New York and will not be playing in the Pinstripe Bowl, West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson said Wednesday night. Holgerson said it was an academic issue, and would not elaborate any further.
This is great news for Syracuse, as they are undoubtedly going to look to pressure Geno Smith in to bad throws as they did all game last season in the Syracuse win. It is going to be crucial for the Orange to get some shots in on the West Virginia star in hopes to contain him, and after the past two seasons of success against this team, they have to think they are more than capable of doing it. Madsen won all-Big East last season, and has been very important to the Mountaineers in their success this season. When asked who would replace him, Holgerson declined to answer, but Geno Smith offered some insight in to what will probably happen:
WVU quarterback Geno Smith said that the Mountaineers would move senior Jeff Braun (6-4, 321) over from right guard to play center, and then slide junior Pat Eger (6-6, 301) over from right tackle to compensate for Madsen’s absence.
“Jeff Braun’s a guy who has played center before. I have tremendous faith in him,” Smith said of Braun, who has played multiple positions on the offensive line.
Even if this is the solution for the Mountaineers, the question remains of who the lineman will be to enter the lineup that wasn’t in previously. Assuming Smith is right about the shift, the Mountaineers will still need to find a replacement for the right tackle position.