first_img Published on November 12, 2019 at 10:11 pm Contact Eric: erblack@syr.edu | @esblack34 Facebook Twitter Google+ Kendall Coleman picked up his head and scanned the field, looking around for the referees. To one side were a handful of his teammates, celebrating a stop they’d just made for a two-yard loss. Syracuse was trailing Florida State, 6-0, on Oct. 26 and SU’s defense had just set up a third down.Or so they thought. As Coleman rotated his head the opposite way, his eyes locked onto the yellow penalty flag that had been thrown in his direction. Roughing the passer. Fifteen yards. Instead of facing third down and four from their own 34-yard line, the Seminoles had a first down in SU territory. Five plays later, FSU scored a touchdown. Syracuse never came within 10 points the rest of the game.Penalties have been a constant for the Orange (3-6, 0-5 Atlantic Coast) all season long. Syracuse is tied with Cincinnati for the most penalties per game this season with 9.33, a program-high during the past 10 seasons. The Orange are also in the top 10 in total penalties, penalty yardage and penalty yardage per game. Sometimes the calls are innocent, coming on a physical mistake like a false start by a freshman offensive lineman. Others, like Coleman’s roughing the passer, are mental and disrupt the SU defense’s game plan.“It sucks because if it was a mental mistake,” SU cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu said, “you did everything right physically, you got a three-and-out or whatever and then a mental mistake could cost you seven points.”Melifonwu was also called for a personal foul penalty during Syracuse’s contest against the Seminoles, as he got into a skirmish after a Florida State touchdown. The Orange were called for 14 penalties as a team during the game, a season-high. It was the fourth different game this season that SU had been called for double-digit penalties. After doubling Boston College’s penalty total during its last game, Syracuse has now been called for more penalties than its opponent in every single game this season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDino Babers doesn’t have a problem with penalties on SU’s younger, inexperienced offensive linemen. Due to the pace of its offense, he said, it’s natural for players to not catch up to the speed of the game immediately. True freshman Matthew Bergeron’s false start penalty in the second quarter against the Seminoles was understandable. But when upperclassmen are called for penalties, like Airon Servais was on back-to-back plays against Western Michigan earlier this season, it’s a different story.“That’s the thing that’s troubling,” Babers said. “We’ve got too many older guys having penalties, and we can’t have that with them.”Karleigh Merritt-Henry | Digital Design EditorOn the offensive line, Evan Adams’ main priority is protecting Tommy DeVito, even if it means committing a holding penalty to keep DeVito upright. Babers categorizes those penalties as physical, whereas Coleman and Melifonwu’s penalties were mental. So was the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on Antwan Cordy against North Carolina State on Oct. 10, when SU’s defense made a stop on third down only for Cordy’s emotions to get the best of him and result in a flag and a Wolfpack first down.Syracuse’s struggles with mental mistakes began against Holy Cross on Sept. 28, when two SU players were ejected due to targeting penalties. While Babers implied after the game that one or both of the calls may have been wrong, the hits confirmed that one of Syracuse’s biggest issues this season has been its discipline.“Every team in the country has a tally (of penalties),” Adams said. “They’re all reported, they’re all on film, you watch them about 15 times. Every team in the country has a tally, who has what. You try to reduce them as much as possible but at the end of the day, penalties do happen.”Melifonwu said that cutting down on the physical penalties as a cornerback are easy. Keeping a level head is more difficult. Even when Babers brings up penalties and mental mistakes before games and in practice, or when a play is dead and a drive is seemingly over.Through nine games this season, Syracuse has proved that it can’t even do nothing right. Usually, its mistakes have resulted in penalties. Other times, it’s turned into points for its opponent. In a season that has been underwhelming in so many ways, SU’s lack of discipline hasn’t helped.“It’s frustrating when you lose momentum,” Melifonwu said. “It sucks when penalties keep the drive alive, especially if they score on that same drive. Penalties are a huge issue.” Commentslast_img

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