Syracuse Orange Football: Week 1 Ratings vs. Louisville

It’s been a while since I’ve done this. Let’s have fun this season.

Each week this season, I will go through each group of positions and issue some letter grades for each group of positions. And after a big 31-7 victory for the Syracuse Orange over Louisville this weekend, you’ll probably expect the ratings to be very good.

Let’s dive in.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEPTEMBER 3 Louisville at Syracuse

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Quarterbacks: A

It’s no secret that we love Pro Football Focus. If he had told any of us that Garrett Shrader would have the highest overall rating among Power Five quarterbacks in week one, would he have believed it?

That was impressive from Sharder, who showed off revamped mechanics that resulted in harder, more accurate casts. His out-of-pocket decision-making was excellent and it appears that Robert Anae’s system and Jason Beck’s coaching have done wonders to reinvigorate the Syracuse signal. The bar has been set.

Runners: A

The Heisman campaign is really underway. Tucker did what he does best on the ground: cut and physically gain yards after first contact. However, that is not the reason he gets the grade. That’s because of his passing prowess. We all knew Tucker would be a great receiver, but now, with the new system, he’s thriving. The routes he ran were simple but put him in the best position to make a play, which is all Syracuse needs from its star player.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEPTEMBER 3 Louisville at Syracuse

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Wide Receivers / Tight Ends: B-

This degree should be higher, and the receivers will tell you this themselves. Another benefactor of the new system, we saw receivers run a variety of routes and give Shrader multiple options to hit. That helped Sharder generally make quicker, more decisive decisions. However, the falls were not great. The only excuse that could allow them to have wide receivers is Shrader’s passing speed, but almost every ball dropped was on target.

Offensive Line: D+

Honestly, the lockdown itself wasn’t the worst thing in the world. Once the game started, it looked like Shrader had time and Tucker had holes. However, this rating is dragged down by all the penalties. Double-digit false starts are unacceptable and the Oranges are lucky no more units were killed by jumps all the way down the line. This is the only downside to the new offensive system, as the linemen were clearly getting used to all the pre-snap movement and the new timings that had to be implemented because of it. Good thing you know Mike Schmidt is going to tackle it this week.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEPTEMBER 3 Louisville at Syracuse

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Defensive Line: B+

The defensive line performed much better than expected. All the starters (and Steve Linton, because he’s essentially Cody Roscoe this year) did very well and played a big part in getting Malik Cunningham out of the pocket. For all the inexperience with only Linton and Caleb Okechukwu getting significant playing time in the past, this sure didn’t look like a green bunch. Both did well later in the game, but it was a bit of a struggle in the first half, where Louisville found a bit of momentum. That’s what lowers the rating.

Linebackers: A

Well, pretty much everyone knew this group was going to be solid and they didn’t disappoint. The linebackers did a great job of disguising their roles during each play, whether they were charging or falling back. And when linebackers scrambled in, it looked terrifying for Louisville’s offensive line. Even as Stefon Thompson went down, Derek McDonald came in and had an interception as well. He didn’t provide the same pass rushing impact, but he was solid in coverage, which is pretty much all Syracuse could ask for.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEPTEMBER 3 Louisville at Syracuse

Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Defensive backs: A

That was an excellent game from the defensive backs. On almost every pass, corners and safeties were positioned on top of Cardinal receivers. Tackling was also incredibly solid, which has been an issue in the past with ball carriers losing tackles since the secondary. Coverage was tight throughout the match. Not much more needs to be said.

Special Teams: B+

Your new favorite player is Max Von Marburg. He did well in his limited showings, pinning Louisville inside the 20s twice on three punts. Trebor Pena also had some decent returns. The kick-off coverage wasn’t the best as Jahwar Jordan had some pretty decent returns, but that got better as the game went on. It didn’t help that almost every kickoff barely touched the end zone. But there is already a much better performance from the special teams than last season.

What do you think? Turn off the sound below in the comments.

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