QB picture starting to materialze

Head coach Greg Schiano said that the first scrimmage would go a long way in determining the team's look at quarterback and the first day back at camp since scrimmage did not disappoint. Seniors Dom Natale and Jabu Lovelace and redshirt freshman D.C. Jefferson all made strides in different directions and the picture is finally starting to materialize.

Jabu Lovelace, after throwing two picks and getting sacked twice in the scrimmage, spent significant time in practice working as a wide receiver, something that Schiano said he may do a lot of this season.

"We have to train him if he's not the guy," Schiano said. "He can do some things at wideout. He knows what every one of the wide receivers does on every play and he certainly makes it more difficult to defend if he goes in the game and he's a quarterback or he might end up at wideout."

Lovelace did not work solely with the receivers, however, as he spent time playing quarterback during select drills.

"He's very capable of throwing the ball so he's going to be part of the plan regardless of how it all shapes out depth wise," Schiano said. "Maybe we can use him to do other stuff if he's not the guy."

Lovelace has no experience as a wide receiver. In fact, the last time he played football at a position other than quarterback was when he was a tackle in peewee.

"I'm just trying to help the team out," Lovelace said. "I'm just doing whatever I can to help the team at any way possible."

Natale, who continued to work with the first team at camp Wednesday, has "separated himself" in terms of his game management.

"I think Dom has the best feel and the best presence in there right now on the field," Schiano said. "We have another scrimmage Saturday, but he has separated himself as far as that goes. Production has been similar, but again, when it comes to winning games at the quarterback position, it's more than just attempts, completions and yardage, it's all the things that are seen and unseen."

After looking at the tape from his first scrimmage, Natale said that things went how he expected. "You can always make improvements but I felt comfortable," he said. "I have confidence in the mental aspect [of quarterback]."

Jefferson and freshman Tom Savage saw increased reps in training camp Wednesday as both made strides in the team's first scrimmage.

"D.C. and Tom and Jabu are all working," Schiano said. "Where we go is going to be determined a great deal by the two scrimmages … We're going to make sure that we utilize all their strengths and see if we can put together a plan that moves the ball and puts it in the end zone."

Schiano said that it is "very" possible that three quarterbacks will see time Sept. 7 against Cincinnati.

"Yesterday when we were at the scrimmage I was more comfortable than I've ever been here," Jefferson said. "I want to continue to have that feeling. … I feel like I've been doing a whole lot better and Coach recognized that and put me in a position where I had a chance to play."

The Scarlet Knights came out of their first scrimmage and subsequent practice down three starters, all with significant injuries.

Senior defensive tackle Blair Bines injured his ankle in the scrimmage and Schiano is not sure how long he will be out. Senior linebacker Ryan D'Imperio tweaked his leg to the point of Schiano saying he's "very concerned" about the team captain. Senior receiver Tim Brown tweaked his ankle during practice, but there is no word as to how serious.

The Knights expect to have most of their depth chart figured out before the team's third scrimmage, coming sometime in the middle of next week.

"You hope you have an idea going into the third and final scrimmage," Schiano said. "You hope the scrimmage validates what you've decided. There may be a question or two."

Junior Edmond Laryea took snaps at fullback today, converting from his natural position of linebacker.

"We may make some more position changes here the next couple of days just to kind of try and get everybody in position to move forward from here," Schiano said.

After the announcement that Syracuse football would play a series of games in Giants Stadium, Schiano said he was not concerned with the Orange playing on Rutgers' turf.

"It makes sense," Schiano said. "Look at us, we're centered between the No. 6 market and the No. 1 market in the country in Philly and New York and that's why I'm still standing here. This is a great place. It makes sense right? It's still ours though."

Athletic Director Tim Pernetti will appear live on WFAN Friday with Mike Francesa at Bar A in Lake Como, N.J. as a part of the live Jersey Shore show. The event will be simulcast on the YES Network.


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