The first day of fall camp began on a gorgeous late summer evening. As the 2012 Syracuse football team took the field, one thing was clear. This team has a lot of work ahead of them. That includes freshman tight end Ron Thompson. Maybe the most talented of the Orange tight ends, the Southfield (MI) product still has things to work on before he will see the field.
"I think to be fair, he has a long way to go," Marrone said after practice. "I know I've said that before. But just from his stance which I talked to him about today. You know, we'll see. And then when it's a live body in front of you and not a bag that's a whole different story. I'll have a much better assessment, you know, when we start when the pads come on and we start going.
"I'm excited to be working with him."
Marrone spent a lot of time working on blocking techniques with tight ends Beckett Wales, Max Beaulieu, and Josh Parris along with Thompson. On several occasions, he corrected the stance Thompson was taking, as well as his form coming out of his stance. Not once did Marrone raise his voice. He was very encouraging to the young tight ends, while instructing them at the same time. He seemed to put a little extra focus on Thompson.
This could be a sign that Marrone sees something special in Thompson. His combination of size and speed has the potential to present mismatches all over the field. But Marrone knows he must hone his blocking skills to reach his full potential.
Specifically, Marrone was working on his hand placement when he engages a defender. He continued to stop Thompson in the middle of the drill to move his hands to the correct placement. This is done to make it more difficult for defenders to shed the block and disrupt the play.
Thompson seemed to take instruction well, improving as the drills went along. He also seemed very coachable, as he listened intently to Marrone's instruction. Physically, Thompson looks ready to contribute. He's the most imposing of the Syracuse tight ends with maybe the highest ceiling. If he takes the instruction and learns quickly, he could see plenty of action in 2012.