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2015 College Lacrosse Preview: Syracuse's "Key Question"

Syracuse's "problem" is a nice one to have.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Lacrosse Magazine interviewed a host of opposing coaches to get their feel on the nation's best teams. Using a quote from those coaches, we're building out context to a specific thought.

The quote:

"How do they balance all the offensive pieces? Sorting out the personnel will be a key question."

Wasn't this the "problem" for Syracuse last season? Syracuse had too many offensive options and the team would suffer from the crisis of decision? Things seemed to work out well for the Orange last season at the offensive end of the field, though, failing to breach the 10-goal mark only three times in 2014 while running with one of the most efficient and destructive personnel groups in the country:

Adjusted Offensive Efficiency 38.97 6
Shots per Offensive Efficiency 1.05 51
Shots on Goal per Offensive Opportunity 0.64 41
Ratio of Shots on Goal to Total Shots per Offensive Opportunity 61.22% 17
Raw Offensive Shooting Rate 35.37% 6
Raw Offensive Shots on Goal Shooting Rate 57.78% 3
Offensive Assist Rate 22.82 4
Turnovers per 100 Offensive Opportunities 34.58 2
Opponent Save Percentage 42.22% 3
Strength of Schedule: Opposing Defenses Faced 30.05 8

The problem of having too much is when there's too much of the same stuff. The Orange, however, don't appear to have that issue: The team returns its undisputed quarterback in Kevin Rice, the team's primary initiator and pivot point; Randy Staats and Dylan Donahue will anchor the attack, each with defining attributes that don't abrogate but rather complement Rice's work; there is balance through the midfield that features a myriad of talents, including a speed dodger in Hakeem Lecky, a power dodger in Henry Schoonmaker, a crafty combustible in Nicky Galasso, and a burgeoning talent in Jordan Evans. There's depth, but it's not the worrisome kind of depth -- each piece knows its function, because almost each piece built its role a season ago. The losses from 2014 -- Derek Maltz, Billy Ward, Scott Loy -- are filled with similarly role-oriented talent that not only has experience but experience within the model that Syracuse seeks to build.

Further bolstering the likelihood of an achieved balance is that the team's top offensive options are upperclassmen with an understanding of what it takes to succeed: Rice and Staats are seniors while Donahue is a redshirt junior; through the midfield, Lecky, Schoonmaker, and Galasso are making their final collegiate runs in 2015. This kind of seasoned talent can keep young or new-ish pups like Jeff Desko, Gale Thorpe, Matt Lane, Tim Barber, Sergio Salcido, Nick Weston, and Hayes McGinley in check as they learn the ropes of the offense. Every aspect of what is necessary to pound skulls is present for the Orange and in the right ingredient amounts and ripeness. The team's embarassment of offensive strengths is not a negative for the team but rather a massive positive.