Syracuse offense awakens in Lester’s debut as coordinator despite loss to Florida State

first_img Published on October 11, 2014 at 9:15 pm Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_ For the first time in four hours and 11 minutes of game time, Syracuse threw a touchdown pass.Thirty-eight minutes and 39 seconds of play into Tim Lester’s tenure as SU’s offensive coordinator, AJ Long lofted a pass to the end zone. Freshman wide receiver Steve Ishmael ran past P.J. Williams and under the ball for the 22-yard score.Ishmael’s catch and Cole Murphy’s ensuing extra point only brought the Orange (2-4, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) to within 18 in a game it ultimately lost to No. 1 Florida State (6-0, 4-0), 38-20, in the Carrier Dome. But it was also a tangible sign of progress for an offense that hasn’t scored in the air against power-conference opposition and hadn’t scored a touchdown at all since Syracuse lost to then-No. 8 Notre Dame on Sept. 27.Lester was promoted to offensive coordinator after George McDonald’s demotion to wide receivers coach last weekend and the change showed Saturday afternoon in the form of an aggressive SU offense that also went under center for one of the first times this season and showed some other new wrinkles against the Seminoles.“I don’t think you can ever beat the No. 1 team in the country playing conservative,” Lester said.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEarly in the fourth quarter, Long and Ishmael connected again for a score — a 35-yard touchdown on a route across the middle of the field — that drew SU within 38-20.The offensive coordinator, who doubles as the team’s quarterbacks coach, also said he might not have called as aggressive of a game against a different team.On SU’s final drive of the first half, Austin Wilson launched a 41-yard pass down the left sideline that Jarrod West snagged, initially one-handed, at the FSU 10-yard line. The drive ended with Wilson, under center, throwing a fade to Ishmael that was broken up in the back-left corner of the end zone on fourth-and-goal.After the game, Lester said he wished he had called a pass on third down, too.“Tim and the offensive staff did a great job,” Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said. “… I thought they did have a really great game plan and I thought the tempo was good as an offensive staff.”Lester credited McDonald for keeping flawless communication going among the wide receivers unit.Lester also utilized a goal-line set with three defensive linemen in the backfield on the last Orange drive of the first half. Defensive linemen Micah Robinson, Ron Thompson and Robert Welsh lined up as running backs on first-and-goal at the Seminoles’ 5-yard line, but Thompson jumped offside, killing the play.“We’ve talked about it a long time. They’ve always said ‘If you want some of our guys …,’” Lester said. “So as soon as I was in charge, I said ‘Yes, I want them all. I’d like the 11, meanest, nastiest guys we have, toughest guys.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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