The Syracuse football team can’t catch a break. ITLH evaluates the rash of injuries the Orange have suffered before the season commences.
Anyone that has ever played football is very familiar with the term ‘Next Man Up’.
When you’re playing a sport where for 20 second bursts you are locked in Mortal Kombat with people who spend all year lifting weights and training to lay you out, there are bound to be injuries.
This is where the ‘Next Man Up’ mantra was born. On any given Sunday the star (fill in the blank) goes out on a stretcher, then it’s time for his backup to step up and fill the void.
This same concept holds true in the revolving door of college football rosters. Students transfer, fail to maintain sufficient grades in Ballroom Dancing (Google Mark Sanchez’s last year at USC if you think I am kidding) or catch lightning in a bottle and get drafted. If your school is lucky enough you will have their replacement waiting in the wings to be the ‘Next Man Up’.
For a school that had an abysmal record last year. There was one thing we had a lot of and that was
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quality wide receivers. The quartet of Amba Etta-Tawo, Ervin Philips, Brisly Estime and Steve Ishmael combined for 199 receptions, 3,411 yards and 24 touchdowns. This barbershop quartet’s talent did not go unnoticed by the NFL with two of them being signed as undrafted free agents. Amba Etta-Tawo signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Brisly Estime signed with the J-E-T-S (unfortunately Brisly was injured during practice and has been placed on injured reserve, best wishes for a speedy recovery).
But do not despair the cupboard is not empty by a long shot. We will have to see which of the two remaining seniors will be Next Man Up.
We will start with Ervin Philips. The second leading receiver on the team last year with 90 receptions and over 800 yards with 6 touchdowns. When teams focused on shutting down Amba, Erv was able to make them pay. He torched Virginia Tech with 11 receptions, 139 yards and a touchdown. This earned him a spot on the ACC Honorable Mention Team. These are impressive numbers but the Orange faithful remember that his first two years he suited up as a running back. Despite his relatively new role he was put on the Biletnikoff Award Preseason Watch List, this award is given annually to the nation’s top receiver.
Now we will review the veteran wide receiver Steve Ishmael. A solid contributor in his three seasons as an Orange receiver with 114 receptions, 1,544 yards and 11 touchdowns. Now these numbers are not all world but we should all remember that Amba Etta-Tawo’s production before joining the Orange is the New Fast was much lower.
Which one of these two or someone else will be the one to step forward? I will be waiting on the edge of my seat to find out as I am sure we will all be tuned in to watch our Heisman hopeful Eric Dungey #Dungey4Heisman sling the ball around the Dome to the Next Man Up.