Syracuse picks up pace as training camp rolls on
Coach Doug Marrone said it when his players were wearing helmets
and shorts, and repeated the message when they were in full pads.
He’s focusing on the overall progress of the Syracuse Orange – and
little else this – early in camp.
Syracuse held its first practice in full equipment on Friday,
the same day the annual fanfest took place. Indeed, there is a new
feeling around Syracuse Football, one of desperation and a
much-needed fresh start.
That said, inclement weather forced the activities to be moved
to inside the Carrier Dome, so all didn’t go completely as
But the Orange are hitting now. That’s a good start.
”I think it’s a little bit tougher transition the first time
you put pads on,” Marrone said. ”I think people think you put
pads on, and you go out right away and play. It takes a little bit
of time to get used to the pads and go out there and hit.”
The Orange went 5-7 last season, 1-6 in the Big East. And
perhaps that record was still floating around in the fans’ minds
Friday. Because only about a thousand fans showed up.
Those brave souls witnessed as many highlights as mistakes. But
Marrone said that’s expected at this point.
Friday’s practice was the Orange’s fifth in the preseason, and
since the first day, Marrone has said repeatedly his team isn’t
close to where it needs to be. He hasn’t spoken much about
individual performances, only the team’s effort overall.
Syracuse lost its final five games of the season to miss a bowl
last year, but a more unpredictable offense could shake things up a
bit. During a scrimmage toward the end of the two-hour practice,
Syracuse ran a play that would make highlight reels during the
Wide receiver Jarrod West jumped up to haul in a long pass from
backup quarterback Charley Loeb in the left-front corner of the end
zone, fighting off coverage from safety Durell Eskridge and
cornerback Jaston George. Clearly, despite it being only a
practice, the level of competition among the players was noticeably
”Part pads, part fans,” Marrone said. ”It’s a good
Earlier in the day, quarterback Ryan Nassib connected with wide
receiver Alec Lemon for a 60-yard touchdown pass down the left
Freshman Ashton Broyld continued to work with the running backs,
and took some snaps in the wildcat formation. The freshman ran for
10 yards during one play, but then the Orange botched a handoff in
another variation of the wildcat and the ball hit the turf.
Broyld is a quick, athletic threat that Syracuse needs. The
Orange will look to use him in a variety of ways, both out of the
backfield and as a wideout. Of course, he still has some learning
to do, but so does the entire team.
”We’ve got a long way to go,” Marrone said. ”I understand
that already, so we’re just concentrating on the progress.”
The Orange have two practices Saturday and one Sunday before
heading up to Fort Drum all next week to train and practice with
members of the military. It’ll be a challenging week filled with
different drills and regimented workouts. The time away will also
force the players to focus solely on the game and their chemistry
”I think it’ll be very important for our kids to get up there
and just totally focus on football in a different environment, with
a little bit of adversity with what we’re going to do with the
military,” Marrone said. ”I think that part of it is probably
Syracuse will play host to Northwestern in the opener on Sept.