That's right folks, the statistical leader in the Big East, Mike Williams, has left the Orange. If I were a coach, I'd avoid wide receivers named Mike Williams like the plague. Williams has had a crazy run at Syracuse.
2 years ago, Mike Williams showed that he was probably the best player on the worst team in the Big East under then Greg Robinson's Syracuse squad. He followed up that hot start by getting in some academic trouble and then missing the entire 2008 season.
This season he was playing well. Despite being suspended for the Akron game, he was still leading the Big East in receiving. That is quite impressive considering that he does have some stiff competition in the league for that spot.
What we have now is a team without a great player. It is a shame for Syracuse too because they seemed to be finally making some strides after firing the worst coach in the Big East. Williams had even stated that he planned on returning for his Senior year which would have been nothing but positive for the Orange.
This move may actually be a positive for former Pitt recruit Marcus Sales. Once considered a Pitt lean, Sales headed for the Cuse once Pitt pulled in a trio of talented wide receivers. It was around the same time when Averin Collier, Pitt's Kevan Collier's brother, decided going to Syracuse would be better as well.
Sales has gotten some meaningful playing time as of late and will now be needed even more to pick up the slack from where Williams left off. It will all depend on if Greg Paulus can get him the ball.
Speaking of the former Duke hoopster, Syracuse is having their own Boogate as well. In his press conference today Doug Marrone was whining to the media about how the fans were booing after Paulus threw one of his 9 million interceptions when Syracuse was in the red zone last week. I'm so sick of this. If you're a college athlete you better get used to some booing from time to time. College sports is becoming such a big time money product, that the fans are starting to react to it like professional sports. They demand perfection from the players like they are being paid to play. Now I'm not going to get into the argument over whether or not booing is ok, I'm getting into the issue of the coach bringing it up.
Here is my idea, if you don't want it to become a bigger deal, then don't mention it. Paulus will now have to play under more scrutiny now because of Marrone deciding to talk about the booing. It is a great way to alienate your fans. Just take a look at Pitt. After the Sun Bowl we all had a bad taste in our mouths. We come out in the 2009 season starting off looking much like we had finished 2008 and the fans let the team (specifically Bill Stull) hear about it. This was fueled by an off season of reporting that Stull was being out performed in camp (which he was). It was fueled even further by the coaches and media bringing it up.
If you want it to go away, then don't talk about it, don't even hint at it. If you ignore it and your player performs, it will go away. Just ask Ricky Stanzi after last week's 1st half performance against Indiana.