Syracuse defense prepares to face lethal, unpredictable Albany attack, top scorer Lyle Thompson

first_img Published on April 1, 2015 at 9:54 pm Contact Connor: [email protected] | @connorgrossman Facebook Twitter Google+ John Desko compared it to spaghetti.Backed by reigning Tewaaraton Award winner Lyle Thompson and current top-five goal scorers Seth Oakes and Connor Fields, Albany’s offense is as solid as any in the country.But it’s the Great Danes’ unique offensive approach that drew the Italian food comparison from Syracuse’s head coach.“It’s all over the place,” Desko said. “There’s no set pattern to it, it’s all random, so it’s hard to prepare when you don’t know what they’re going to do.”Orange defender Jay McDermott called it one of his defense’s toughest tests of the season coming up as No. 2 Syracuse (7-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) prepares to take on Albany (7-1, 3-0 America East) in the Carrier Dome on Thursday at 7 p.m.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textGoing up against the highest-scoring offense in the country, the SU defensive trio of Brandon Mullins, Sean Young and McDermott already has their tentative assignments. Young and McDermott will match up with Fields and Oakes respectively, while Mullins will be keeping tabs on Thompson.After spending Sunday and Monday watching film, SU players are keen on Albany’s offense and its freeform structure. There’s no patented way to counteract the Great Danes, and it may work to the Orange’s benefit.“That could just let us play well,” Mullins said. “We don’t necessarily have to focus on some sort of play that they’re going to run.”The “controlled chaos” of Albany, as McDermott called it, is going to be quarterbacked by Thompson on the attack.Thompson dished out five assists last year in SU’s 17-16 overtime win, and leads the NCAA with 6.6 points per game. He creates a conundrum for a Syracuse’s defense that will be honing in on him and sliding early, which inevitably could allow Fields and Oakes to expose any misstep by the Orange defense.During Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame, Young and McDermott got mixed up on who was going to “coma slide,” or cut across the crease and the Notre Dame attack burned the Orange for miscommunications.Thompson is capable of doing the same and merits the attention he’ll get from Syracuse, but Desko warned that his defense needs to take precaution before vacating position.“You give (Thompson) too much attention, you double-team him all the time, he’s got great vision so he finds open people,” Desko said. “The other people offensively are very capable to dodge, create and finish themselves.”Twenty-three different players on Albany have registered a goal this year, compared to the Orange’s 18. Desko said the Great Danes will often bunch up four to five different players in front of the net and set a series of picks in a short span of time.In a 25-0 drubbing of Massachusetts Lowell last week, several Albany goals were scored from outside shooters with four to five other attacks actually standing closer to the crease than the shooter.“There’s lots of movements and little structure,” McDermott said. “The guys on their offense know what they’re doing, but it seems chaotic to opposing teams.”Syracuse appears to be at a disadvantage on paper given that this is the first week all season with less than six days between games.The weekly preparation cycle was expedited, and Desko was adamant about the challenge of facing something “different” in a shorter timespan. The Orange, however, is prepared to see an offense it’s never prepared for, and is hungry to get a piece of it.Said McDermott: “Guys are going to be all over the place, different than any game we’ve played so far.” Commentslast_img

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