first_img Published on October 16, 2014 at 12:29 am Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbb Syracuse’s offense has been well-documented this season.Terrel Hunt is out four to six weeks. There’s a new offensive coordinator. The Orange can’t find the end zone.But as the offense shuffles through personnel changes, deals with injuries and makes tac-tical adjustments, the other side of the ball remains a steady, almost quiet constant — with the front four leading the way in recent weeks.“It starts up front with the D-line,” junior nose tackle John Raymon said. “It’s always been that way since I’ve been here.“We predicate our team on defense and getting turnovers and regardless if it’s (Terrel) Hunt or AJ (Long) or Mitch Kimble or Austin Wilson, the defense comes to play and make turnovers.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Orange’s defensive line had the strongest showing of the defensive units against Florida State on Saturday. The group is primed for an even stronger showing when SU (2-4, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) lines up against one of the worst offenses in the country in Wake Forest (2-4, 0-2) on Saturday at noon in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.“I thought the defensive line, against one of the best offensive lines we’ve seen in a long time, the thing I liked most was their fight,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said of the line’s outing against FSU. “Our defensive line has really been pressed … now we just need to get more consistent.”As SU regains its experienced, bigger bodies to allocate to the interior of the defensive line, its renewed depth allows its ends to return to their natural positions and make plays.Raymon — who Shafer previously called a “long shot” to play this year — made his sea-son debut two weeks ago, marking his full recovery from the season-ending knee injury he suffered at Georgia Tech last October.Junior nose tackle Wayne Williams has increasingly become a presence in SU’s run de-fense — which has allowed just four touchdowns, third-best in the ACC.Defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough also said that nose tackle Eric Crume will be “ready to play” against the Demon Deacons.“If the inside does well, the rest of the D-line does well,” defensive end Micah Robinson said. “They force the pocket back, the quarterback has nowhere to go but the outside.”If Wake Forest’s numbers are any indication, Syracuse’s defensive line is in for a field day Saturday.The Demon Deacons are dead last in the nation with averages of 213 total yards per game and 31 rushing yards per game — a consequence of graduating their starting running back from last year and having their second- and third-string tailbacks dismissed from WFU before the season started.A month ago, Wake Forest’s rushing attack revolved around a converted wide receiver, a true freshman and a converted tight end.“They’re working hard,” WFU head coach Dave Clawson said during the Sept. 17 ACC coaches’ teleconference, “but it’s certainly a work in progress and we’re nowhere close to where we need to be.”Robinson said despite the Demon Deacons’ poor numbers, the Orange’s front four isn’t approaching the game any differently. Shafer and Bullough said they expect a more ex-tensive game plan offensively with WFU coming off a bye week.“I think it’s more of a game that we match up with them athletically,” Bullough said.Bullough said he and the coaches are concerned that, naturally, their defensive linemen will slack on their technique as the season progresses and minor injuries will amount. They’re stressing to the players not to take “the easy way out,” and fall into habits of slipping blocks instead of filling their assigned gap.That wasn’t an issue against Florida State’s highly regarded offensive line, but there’s still room for Syracuse’s defensive line to grow.“As a coach, there’s always mistakes. There’s always mental errors, technique errors,” Bullough said. “That’s every game. We’ve just got to keep improving on what we’re doing.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img