The kicking game figures to be a strong point again with the return of Ross Krautman, who hit 18 of 19 field-goal attempts as a freshman to tie Gary Anderson’s school record for field goals in a season set in 1981. Krautman also hit 16 straight field goals to match another Anderson record, and was 30 of 32 on extra points.
Punting is another matter. Replacing four-year standout Rob Long (43.5 yard average) won’t be easy. Shane Raupers is the top candidate.
If Marrone hopes to continue the turnaround, he and the Orange will have to find a way to win more games in the Carrier Dome. Syracuse finished fourth in the Big East at 4-3 last season and won only twice at home _ against Maine and Colgate, who play in the Football Championship Subdivision. That 0-4 mark against FBS teams won’t cut it.
Syracuse has one FCS game this year_ Rhode Island in Week 2 _ among its seven home dates. The Orange also host Wake Forest, Toledo, Rutgers, West Virginia, South Florida and Cincinnati.
Putting the preseason distractions in the rearview mirror also is a top priority. Besides Sales’ predicament, kick returner Prince Tyson-Gulley is recovering from being stabbed in his back and arms during a brawl at an on-campus party, and wasn’t expected to be able to participate fully for seven to 10 days.
“We need all our focus and attention from our football team for what we do out here on the football field and on the players that are here,” Marrone said. “In doing so, we have a good opportunity to create a good experience for our players, win football games, and accomplish those goals.
“The more distractions we have, the more it takes away from us being a good football team.”
Syracuse kicks off the season with a night game at home on Sept. 1 against Wake Forest.
Follow John Kekis on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Greek1947
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