TB Walter Reyes

2002 Statistics

Coach: Paul Pasqualoni
95-47-1, 12 years
2002 Record: 4-8
at Brigham Young LOST 21-42
at Auburn LOST 34-37 (3OT)
at Temple LOST 16-17
at West Virginia LOST 7-34
at UCF WON 38-35
at Boston College LOST 20-41

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

For the second time in three years, the hottest seat in coaching will be in upstate New York. Head coach Paul Pasqualoni's oft-contentious relationship with fans worsened after 2002's 4-8 showing (2-5 in the Big East). Coming as it did on the heels of a 10-3 mark in 2001, the collapse was especially disappointing. And, with the basketball team coming off a national championship, patience will be in even shorter supply around the Carrier Dome.

However, Orange fans anxious to preserve Pasqualoni's already lengthy tenure (12 years and counting) can take heart - plenty of experience returns in 2003. The run game is three-deep, and if Anderson can provide at least a measure of stability at the quarterback position, the offense will be much-improved. Emerging receivers will help this cause.

The defense is due for some growing pains, with three new starters in the backfield. But the front seven is as experienced as any in the conference, meaning that the run defense should be much improved.

In the long run, however, the fact remains that Syracuse has lost major ground in the Big East. In addition to Miami's dominance - which appears set to continue indefinitely -Virginia Tech, Boston College, Pittsburgh, and West Virginia should all finish ahead of the Orange in the 2003 standings.

Their conference schedule - which includes trips to Pitt, Miami, and Blacksburg - is tough, the non-conference schedule does not offer many breaks. A trip to North Carolina - which will be much-improved in 2003 - opens the season, and a visit from Notre Dame - always a tough out - closes the schedule. But crisis often exposes opportunity - a respectable showing against the Irish could do wonders for off-season adjustments. Easier said than done.

Thanks to the tough level of competition and the inexperience at a few key positions, the Orangemen could easily be looking forward to another sub-.500 season. If that happens, Pasqualoni may be finally shown the door, and a difficult rebuilding process will begin on the Hill. We've heard that before, but the university has a great reputation for sticking with their coaches in an effort to secure a championship season…just ask Jim Boeheim.

Projected 2003 record: 6-6
DT Louis Gachelin
QB - 3 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 2
WR - 2 DB - 2
OL - 4 ..

Passing: R.J. Anderson, 134-58-8, 899 yds., 4 TD

Rushing: Walter Reyes, 182 att., 1135 yds., 17 TD

Receiving: Johnnie Morant, 24 rec., 327 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Walter Reyes, 17 TD, 1 two-pt. conv., 104 pts.

Punting: none

Kicking: Collin Barber, 11-20 FG, 33-36 PAT, 66 pts.

Tackles: O'Neil Scott, 61 tot., 47 solo

Sacks: Louis Gachelin, 8.5 sacks

Interceptions: Steve Gregory, 2 for 2 yds.

Kickoff returns: Damien Rhodes, 28 ret., 21.0 avg.

Punt returns: Rashard Williams, 6 ret., 7.7 avg.


OFFENSE: David Tyree-WR, Erik Kaloyanides-OG, Troy Nunes-QB, Chris Davis-FB, Jamel Riddle-WR (dismissed)
DEFENSE: Clifton Smith-MLB, Latroy Oliver-CB, Keeon Walker-SS, Will Hunter-CB, Jameel Dumas-SLB, Maurice McClain-FS, Mike Shafer-P

written by Collin Mickle

Offense was never a problem for Syracuse in 2002, and it is unlikely to be a major concern in '03. The Orangemen return the core of a solid unit (376 yards per game), led by tailback Walter Reyes.

Reyes gained 1,135 yards as a junior, scoring an amazing 17 touchdowns. With the return of four starting offensive linemen, Reyes should be able to improve upon his impressive numbers in 2003. Fatigue should not be a factor, as Reyes has a pair of capable backups.

Sophomore Damien Rhodes will be Reyes' primary backup, the job he held last season, and will also contribute on special teams as a kick and punt returner. Rhodes is a physical pounder, an excellent change of pace for Reyes, who is more of a slasher. Redshirt freshman Tim Washington picked up valuable experience in the spring, while Rhodes and especially Reyes were sidelined to protect against injuries. The high school All-American could be the X-factor at running back, with his remarkable speed and shifty moves.

Aside from the stable of quality running backs, the offensive line should be the pride of the Syracuse offense. Anchored by senior center Nick Romeo - a three-year starter - the line can boast plenty of experience. The five players on the line - tackles Adam Terry and Kevin Sampson, guards Matt Turullo and Jason Greene, and center Romeo - have a combined 72 games of starting experience.

The Orangemen have a question mark at quarterback, where holdover R.J. Anderson, a senior, will begin as the starter after passing sophomore Xzavier Gaines and injured redshirt freshman Perry Patterson in the spring. Although he is not a gifted passer and has displayed a penchant for interceptions, Anderson is a good athlete, a natural runner, and a respected leader - he was elected team captain at the conclusion of spring drills.

Besides, Anderson will not be called upon to carry the offense - that will be Reyes' task. Further marginalizing the passing game is the inexperience in the thin wide receiver corps. The four players vying for the two positions - Jared Jones, Rashard Williams, Johnnie Morant, and Andre Fontenette - are inexperienced players, backups up to this point. The loss of second-team All-Big East receivers Jamel Riddle and David Tyree further weakens an already suspect unit. Riddle was a second-team All-Big East receiver. He is attending Onondaga Community College this spring and his return to the Orangemen remains doubtful. Riddle was dismissed from the school for academic reasons.


C Nick Romeo


Returning Starters in bold
QB R.J. Anderson-Jr (6-1, 229) Xzavier Gaines-So (6-4, 206)
FB Thump Belton-Sr (6-0, 240) Greg Hanoian-Jr (6-2, 267)
TB Walter Reyes-Jr (5-10, 205) Damien Rhodes-So (6-1, 193)
WR Jared Jones-Jr (5-11, 192) Rashard Williams-So (5-6, 152)
WR Johnnie Morant-Sr (6-4, 223) Andre Fontenette-So (6-2, 222)
TE Lenny Cusumano-Jr (6-1, 255) Joe Donnelly-Jr (6-3, 240)
OT Adam Terry-Jr (6-8, 300) Tim Carignan-So (6-3, 284)
OG Matt Tarullo-Jr (6-5, 313) Steve Franklin-So (6-3, 310)
C Nick Romeo-Sr (6-1, 298) Chris Buda-Sr (6-2, 297)
OG Jason Greene-So (6-5, 301) Charles Simpson-Sr (6-3, 322)
OT Kevin Sampson-Jr (6-4, 300) Quinn Ojinnaka-So (6-5, 264)
K Collin Barber-Jr (6-1, 201) ..



written by Collin Mickle

The Orangemen will boast one of the Big East's most experienced front lines. Three senior starters return in tackles Louis Gachelin and Christian Ferrara, and end Josh Thomas. Gachelin, a former defensive end, has serious pass-rushing skills - he led the team with 8.5 sacks, an extremely high total for an interior lineman, and was named second-team all-conference. The 6-4 Ferrara is a classic gap-clogger in the middle. Thomas' numbers (33 tackles, 3 sacks) are fairly pedestrian, but the senior, a three-year starter, leads by example and is an important part of the defensive unit. Talented 6-5 sophomore James Wyche (40 tackles as a reserve) will fill the other end position.

Middle linebacker Rich Scanlon, a fifth-year senior, has started 17 career games, and is coming off a career-high 58 tackles while playing on the outside. With the departure of middle linebacker Clifton Smith, Scanlon will be playing a new position (appeared to make the adjustment with ease in the spring). With two new starters flanking him, Scanlon will need to provide consistency in the middle. Sophomore Kellen Pruitt (25 tackles last season) takes over at the weak side, while redshirt freshman Kelvin Smith - the nephew of former SU star Keith Bulluck - will play the strong side. The pair is very talented, but defensive coordinator Chris Rippon will depend on Scanlon to keep both players on the right page. Hurting this unit is the huge loss of Jameel Dumas, the second-leading tackler for the Syracuse Orangemen last season, who has withdrawn from school.

Perhaps the most purely talented player on defense is sophomore cornerback Steve Gregory. Voted a freshman All-America after leading the conference with 21 passes defended in 2002 - the first freshman to do so - Gregory is the only returning starter in the secondary. He can be a shut-down player at the position, the kind of defensive back who can take away half of the field.

After Gregory, the defensive backfield is also a question mark. Sophomore Thomas Whitfield, who will play opposite Gregory, has speed to spare, but his height - 5-9 - is a weakness in a conference with so many tall receivers. The projected starters at free and strong safety have very little experience. Diamond Ferri was a running back two seasons ago, and spent last year in community college. O'Neill Scott saw most of his action on special teams.

Syracuse finished at the bottom of the Big East pack in just about every statistical category from rushing to passing defense last fall. Thus, the final translation was reflected in their overall record. It's a very simple prediction, if the defense does not improve, the 2003 record will not improve.


CB Steve Gregory


Returning Starters in bold
DE Josh Thomas-Sr (6-7, 288) Julian Pollard-Jr (6-4, 252)
DT Louis Gachelin-Sr (6-1, 285) Kader Drame-So (6-5, 288)
NT Christian Ferrara-Sr (6-4, 302) Brian Hooper-Jr (6-2, 285)
DE James Wyche-So (6-5, 242) Ryan LaCasse-So (6-2, 248)
SLB Kelvin Smith-Fr (6-2, 230) Tommy Harris-So (6-2, 245)
MLB Rich Scanlon-Sr (6-1, 240) Cory Brooks-So (6-1, 227)
WLB Kellen Pruitt-So (6-3, 216) Luke Cain-Fr (6-0, 205)
CB Steve Gregory-So (5-11, 178) Terrell Lemon-Fr (5-10, 152)
CB Thomas Whitfield-So (5-9, 187) Moe Sidibe-Jr (5-10, 175)
SS Diamond Ferri-Jr (5-10, 206) Troy Swittenburg-Jr (5-9, 204)
FS O'Neil Scott-Jr (6-0, 198) Anthony Smith-So (6-0, 171)
P Brendan Carney-Fr (6-5, 171) Collin Barber-Jr (6-1, 201)




With so many of 2002's key special teams performers - Scott, Pruitt, and Rhodes among them - expected to play bigger roles on offense or defense, the 'Cuse special teams are very much an unknown. Typically, Syracuse enjoys solid play on special teams. Last year, the Orangemen held opponents to a scarcely-believable 2.5 yards per punt return, and allowed only 20 yards per kickoff return.

Rhodes is again the main kickoff returner. Wideout Rashard Williams, the 2002 PR backup, will take over those duties full-time. Both players are speedy and explosive, meaning that kick returns will be the least of the problems for Syracuse's special teams.

Place-kicker Collin Barber will look to improve after an inconsistent 2002 (11-of-20 on FGAs), and will also handle kickoffs. Strong-legged redshirt freshman Brendan Carney will look to replace departed punter Mike Shafer.