Behind career-high Sean Tucker’s 207-yard performance


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There is no reason Sean Tucker should not be happy with his performance after last weekend. On Saturday, the Syracuse running back finished with a career-high 207 rushing yards on 26 attempts.

Tucker, who received back of the week honors from the Atlantic Coast Conference, has not been targeted once on the receivers side, despite head coach Dino Babers praising his ability to transform “circuit passes”. The Orange have always thrown the ball to their new receiving core, but Babers has said he is more keen to use Tucker’s abilities on the ground.

“We tried a few balls, but we really wanted to get the football going. We really wanted to be physical, ”Babers said.

Here’s a breakdown of Tucker’s success and the blocking concepts that allowed him to have a game at the peak of his career:


First splash game

Early against Boston College, Syracuse looked to establish the inside zone, a game that keeps Tucker in the box. The setup allows him to pick up 4-5 yards and prepare for the next try, which Babers says is one of Tucker’s greatest strengths.

But Tucker doesn’t just get what is expected of him – he usually gets a lot more. On this play, Tucker broke for 37 yards, shooting through the perfect hole created for him by his offensive line.

The right side of the line, and center Airon Servais, are responsible for the entirety of this game. Dakota Davis flushes out the defensive end so Tucker can punch the hole instead of trying to get the game to play on the defensive end. outside. As Tucker pulls through, Servais perfectly timed his shot on the middle linebacker, pushing him completely out of Tucker’s way.

Babers said he hasn’t seen defenders catch Tucker often, although Elijah Jones does on this play. Yet it was the first play that sparked Syracuse’s rushed attack, opening the momentum. for the rest of the game.

At home

Ahead of the game, Syracuse announced that he would dispense with full-back Chris Elmore against the Eagles. Elmore had been responsible for the key role of Tucker’s main tackle for the previous few games.

But in the first four games, tight end Maximilian Mang filled the role of Elmore while he was away. Mang has returned to his position since the start of the season, lining up a few yards ahead of Shrader – or to the left or right of him – on the majority of racing games.

The Orange also managed to confuse Boston College even more by waving Mang on either side of Shrader. This makes it harder for the defense to anticipate where the game is going, but it does give Mang enough time to see where his missions should take him.

Most of Mang’s and offensive line’s missions take them to the linebacker level to pave the way for Tucker. Directly after the snap, Mang goes across the offensive line, charging to his right side to block a linebacker.

Chris Bleich also moves to second tier after initially tracking the rest of his unit, but he cuts right and throws the middle linebacker to the ground. Tucker then uses his speed as the defensive backs attempt to turn around and catch up. And unlike the first play, this time they can’t.

“We knew they were going to stack the box on the finish so it wasn’t going to be easy, but you just have to keep plugging in and soon you will definitely come out with one,” Tucker said after the game.

You must be faster than that

Tucker’s strengths also come from his ability to make up for mistakes on the offensive line, moving away from where games were meant to go. Like the first game, it was an inside zone run that was meant to go on the left side of the court.

But Tucker keeps his head up and quickly realizes that BC’s defensive line has won the battle at the line of scrimmage, so he cuts to the right. Syracuse receivers weren’t blocking for Tucker as they executed a false screen route to flush out the defensive backs on that side of the pitch. Still, Anthony Queeley and Devaughn Cooper arrive at the same time as Tucker, creating a lane on the sideline for their teammate.

Tucker hesitates before each cut, forcing the defender in front of him to take the first step. Two defenders jump on Tucker to try and knock him down, so he simply cuts horizontally instead of vertically, sending their bodies flying towards the turf.

“Look at him,” Shrader said of Tucker’s performance. “(He has) a bit of everything – he can hit the hole; he is big and strong.

Tucker heads for the right sideline, following the blocks Cooper and Queeley have set for him. Instead of cutting back inside, he plays smart and goes out of bounds, stopping the timer so his teammates can catch their breath after his big game.

Frosting on the cake

After the Syracuse defense hit the goal line, the Orange had to convert on a few other big plays to fend off the Eagles. With less than four minutes on the clock, Tucker had a first try before catching the ball in this play of thirds and 1s.

Boston College is completely stacking the box, knowing that with this distance and distance Syracuse will most likely keep the ball in Tucker’s hands. But Syracuse matches the number of players on the line, adding tight end Luke Benson and keeping Mang as the main blocker.

After the snap, Bleich also pulls to the right side of the line at the second level, putting down another pancake block. Tucker remains patient and cuts through Mang and Bleich’s hole, recovering a first try and stopping any return from the Eagles.

Contact Anish: [email protected]

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