SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — As Syracuse enters its final season in the Big East and its fourth season under coach Doug Marrone, the Orange's ability to break off big plays could be difference between playing in a bowl or missing the postseason.
Coming off a bowl victory in 2010, Syracuse lost its final five games last season to finish a disappointing 5-7.
It was a worrisome step back for a program that has struggled to drum up support in recent years.
"From a schematic standpoint, the big plays have to be available as far as the process of how we do things, both offensively and defensively," Marrone said. "And then our players need to execute it and get it done."
Marrone opened up a Facebook profile last week to give fans an inside look at the team's training camp on a daily basis. He also started a Twitter account where he'll give daily updates on the team.
Keeping Syracuse's fans engaged is a constant point of emphasis, especially after a season where the product on the field failed to meet expectations.
Though that could start to change this season.
Ryan Nassib is starting his third season as the starting quarterback, and has two formidable receivers to throw to in Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales. The 6-foot, 183-pound Sales missed last season after a drug arrest, but all charges were dropped and he returned the team.
Sales made 26 receptions for 414 yards in 2010 en route to becoming the star of the Pinstripe Bowl victory against Kansas State.
"As far as Marcus Sales, he has given us some big plays in the past. And I think you could always reference the Pinstripe Bowl," Marrone said. "For us, it's what are we going to do to be able to win and Marcus Sales has ability to help us do that."