Practice number two was in the books on Tuesday, and once again some players made an impression. One key area that the coaches focused on was the battles between the secondary and the wide receiver corps.
”We had some real good competitions in the one-on-ones with the wide receivers and the DBs,” Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said. “Alvin Cornelius had another good day, which was good to see. Jamal Custis made a nice catch. I thought the corners really won the whole period, which was good to see.”
With the cornerbacks winning the day, the young class of 2014 signees were at the heart of the strong play, including Antwan Cordy who is learning both the cornerback and safety positions.
”I think Juwan Dowels did some good things,” Shafer said. “Cordy is playing both corner and safety. I thought he played pretty well at the safety position at times. We’ve got a good battle going on out there. Cordell Hudson did some nice things in coverage out there as well.”
In addition to Cornelius, who has now been mentioned during both practice sessions as a standout, Ervin Philips made some nice plays. He is transitioning from running back to h-back, where he is expected to have more impact as a pass catcher.
”Ervin Philips made a really nice catch on a corner route today,” Shafer said. “I don’t know that he’s ever run a corner route. Last year we played around with it. He looked good on those things.”
Terrel Hunt was also a primary focus as he comes back from a broken fibula that cost him most of the 2014 season. He had an up and down day on Tuesday.
”Not bad,” Shafer said. “He did some good things at times. Other times he had some things where he was late with his reads. All in all, not bad. Trying to get that rhythm back. It’ll come.”
The offensive line is a huge focus with Syracuse battling significant injuries at the position last season and the loss of Sean Hickey and John Miller. Rob Trudo has been working at center a bit (in addition to guard), somewhere he took some reps last season.
There has been another addition to the group in Kendall Moore, who has spent the last two seasons at tight end. Things are still in progress there, but his long-term future could be up front where his athleticism could make him a solid player.
”We’re trying to get his strength and his body weight up,” Shafer said. “I think he could do a really good job up front. Anywhere along the front, whether it’s center or tackle and that sort of thing. We’re trying to force feed him in there. He’s doing a good job so far.”
Also of note, defensive tackle Marcus Coleman is likely to be medically disqualified with a chronic foot injury. He is expected to stay with the program as an undergraduate assistant.
Syracuse returns to the Ensley Athletic Center for practice number three on Thursday. The next media availability is on Tuesday, March 3rd.