As the 2012 preseason All-American list was released on Tuesday, a quick scan of the list, (first and second team) saw no Syracuse offensive players on the list. Strange for Syracuse, but could it be a good thing?
First player to show up on the list is junior defenseman and 2012 team captain Brian Megill. A player tough as nails and capable of taking on the opposing teams top player week in and week out. Megill made the second team All-American list. First offensive player to crack the list? Redshirt senior Tim Desko, another 2012 captain. Desko proved, before a knee injury, he could score big goals and rise to the occasion. We all saw it against Virginia in the Carrier Dome in front of thousands of people. Desko put on a show scoring five goals and adding a highlight reel, behind the back goal.
Orange fans know this team is going to be different; much different. They are in a state of searching for themselves as they go into the 2012 season wondering if red shirt junior Matt Lerman can replace John Galloway in goal. Can Jojo Marasco step up as the team's go to player. Is it going to be Desko or someone else emerging as the star? Do they need a star player or can they play as a blue collar, scrappy team that will spread the offense around?
Those questions are something we as fans are wondering and are eager to see how coach John Desko will answer. Desko has knack for finding young talent to put into the mix--guys who arent afraid to play in front of the large crowds that pack the Carrier Dome for every home game.
With the attack position pretty locked in with Desko, Marasco and Palasek, who combined for 94 points between the three of them, the question is where will the secondary scoring come from? Does this years midfield have enough fire power as years past? Losing guys like Jovan Miller, Josh Amidon and Jeremy Thompson are hard to replace. Senior and captain Bobby Eilers will slide into a top midfield position, something he has never done before in his time at Syracuse. He will most likely be joined by Stephen Ianzitto, whose rifle of a shot is something Syracuse fans and coaches have been waiting for the redshirt junior to unload for two years now.
Syracuse does return junior Pete Coleman andScott Loy, as well as Derek Maltz who ran some plays from the midfield position. But again, this will be a different Orange team in 2012. It has to be.
If we look at the stats of Marasco and Palasek, each they each had 18 assists and proved to be legitimate quarterbacks of an offense, guys willing to pass the ball rather than create offense themselves to score goals. The thing is both players are quite capable of doing that as well. That's why they both were highly touted recruits coming out of high school.
But in 2011, those guys racked up the assists because they were passing to Miller, Amidon and Thompson. Guys who you can count on from the outside to fire a shot past the goalie. Can we count on Eilers, Ianzitto and Coleman? Will the difference in this years offense be that Marasco is more of the dodging attackman the whole country thought he would be compared to the passing type player he has become, not that there is anything wrong with that. Does Palasek turn out to be the quarterback of this offense and Desko turns into a finisher like Stephen Keogh?
The questions surrounding this team are all there and it will be very exciting and interesting to see how the coaching staff answers them. Do I think Syracuse will have any problem answering them? Of course not, they are Syracuse, a team that brings in talent year after year and still have guys like Billy Ward, another attackman with a ton of potential. Not to mention Collin Donahue who scored seven goals in 2011 from the attack position and Pat Powderly, a rare Baltimore product on the Syracuse lineup.
Like many years in the past, the options are endless for Desko. The question is who emerges as the face of this offense?