Syracuse Orange: Nick Provo's Mackey Resume Could Lead to Syracuse Success

Andrew Pregler@ACPreglerContributor IIINovember 15, 2011

SU AP Database
SU AP Database

Word came across the wire this week that Nick Provo was named a John Mackey award semifinalist.

Provo's six touchdowns are tied for best on the team and fourth among tight ends across the nation. There is an obvious Hollywood script feeling that a Syracuse tight end could win the award named after one of the best Syracuse players of all-time the year he passed away. However, building Provo's resume for this award may also help the Syracuse offense.

Looking at the Syracuse offensive scheme, the Orange have the desire to run the ball down the throats of their opponents. However, with the increasing struggles of the offensive line, this plan seems like it should it be slightly adjusted. However, as seen with the USF game, Syracuse's passing game is also out of rhythm, struggling to maintain drives and convert on red-zone opportunities.

Enter in more Provo. While Nick Provo's stat line for receiving yards may seem lackluster for a star player (43 receptions for 453 yards), Provo's role in the offense when involved cannot be underestimated. Provo creates mismatches with anyone who covers him due to his physicality. At 6'4" and 249 pounds, the Orange tight end is big enough to run over anyone, and several times this year, both linebackers and cornerbacks have found themselves flat on their backs after a Provo shoulder to their chest.

However, in recent weeks, Provo has not seen much action within the red zone. Eliminating the Rhode Island game where Provo had only one catch for four yards, Provo is averaging over 65 yards a game and one touchdown every seven catches. During Syracuse's three-game skid, Provo has only averaged 42.3 yards a game and has one touchdown in 15 receptions.

The simple answer is for Ryan Nassib to target Provo more, but it is not that simple. Coming off the line, Provo will more than likely be limited to flat routes, as rushers are getting to Nassib with ease. It is the job of the coaching staff, specifically offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, to use more packages that have Provo in a mismatch with a corner or linebacker on the edge.

If Syracuse wants to make a bowl game, and now that is looking increasingly more difficult, Provo and the rest of the Syracuse offense are going to have to kick it into high gear. 


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