Dougherty: Get Brisly Estime the ball

first_imgWhat started as a repeated slice of training camp rhetoric has now trickled into the first month of Syracuse’s season.Hide your secondary. Hide your punter. Brisly Estime’s healthy.Estime — the Orange’s 5-foot-9, 178-pound spark plug wide receiver — spent last year nursing a high ankle sprain. He was slowed by the injury in the five games he played, and missed the other seven entirely. SU’s offense, anemic at best in 2014, lacked a big-play threat as Estime stood on the sideline itching to be on the field.Now he’s back and has the two longest plays of Syracuse’s (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast) season, a 74-yard punt return touchdown against Rhode Island and an 89-yard touchdown catch against Wake Forest last week. With hybrid Ervin Philips expected to miss 2-3 weeks after undergoing a knee procedure on Sept. 8, Estime’s game-breaking ability is even more important heading into a 12:30 p.m. game against Central Michigan (2-0) in the Carrier Dome on Saturday.Against the Chippewas, and moving deeper into the season, the Orange offense would benefit from feeding its most electrifying playmaker.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“He creates a lot himself,” SU offensive coordinator Tim Lester said. “A lot of guys, if you give them some space, they can take it to the house. Even if (Estime) doesn’t have space, he has the ability to make space, which is a very unique trait.”Leading up to last season, it seemed that George McDonald’s “full-bore fast” offense would be a perfect fit for the full-bore fast receiver. Based on the pillars of that system, Estime would get the ball fast and in space. It took his two greatest attributes, speed and agility, and plugged them into a simple formula.But on top of the lingering injury, Estime never gelled with McDonald’s scheme. His appearances all came before McDonald was demoted in favor of Lester after a Week 5 loss to Louisville, and he finished his shortened year with 10 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown.“Last year’s offense was hard to learn,” Estime said Tuesday. “This year’s offense is just simple.”Through two games, Estime’s produced in limited punt return opportunities and with just three receptions. He’s averaging 35.7 yards per catch thanks to his 89-yard score — the third longest pass play in program history — and flashed his ability on that play to turn a prayer into points.With Syracuse holding a 20-17 lead over the Demon Deacons in the third quarter, freshman quarterback Eric Dungey rolled to his right and faced pressure in front of the Orange’s goal line. He then wheeled back toward the middle of the field and Estime carried out a backside post route, which allowed Dungey to float a pass into space around the 25-yard line.After putting Wake Forest safety Brad Watson on his back, Estime made a slight adjustment while the ball was in the air to make the catch. A failed tackle triggered a 75-yard foot race that Estime, given the slightest head start, was never going to lose.“It’s exciting to me to see Brisly running and flying around like he can,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said, “because until someone else steps up he’s going to have to continue to do those things.”As for getting him more involved in the coming weeks, Lester said the offense attacks the defense’s weaknesses and he’d love for that approach to create more opportunities for Estime. He’s had five or more touches just twice in his career — both games were in his freshman season — and doesn’t necessarily need to be featured to be effective.But it couldn’t hurt.Steve Ishmael is a talented receiver with the most credibility, even as a sophomore, of any Orange skill player. Sean Avant has been complimented for his precise route-running. Ben Lewis, replacing Philips as the starting hybrid, is among the most experienced of Dungey’s options and has gone for big gains in the past.Yet Estime’s the only Syracuse player who can change the entire course of a game every time he touches the ball. His absence was certainly noticeable. The Orange needs to make sure his presence is too. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 17, 2015 at 9:46 pmlast_img

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