Fort Drum Day 1 Roundup

News and notes from Syracuse football's first day at Fort Drum.

Syracuse kicked off their Fort Drum week on Tuesday with a plethora of activities. Here is a recap of day one on the military base.

Practice Notes

Steve Ishmael collided with freshman offensive lineman Andrejas Duerig during a punt catching drill and bruised his knee, according to multiple reports. Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer discussed the incident after practice.

”We all saw the same thing,” Shafer said. “What happened there was Riley Dixon hit about a 75-yard punt. Stevie went to try to catch it and bumped into one of the lineman that were over there doing center-quarterback exchange. I was nervous too, but he checked out good. He’s good to go.”

Riley Dixon was impressive punting the ball, according to Nate Mink of Syracuse.com. Freshman Sterling Hofrichter, on the other hand, was inconsistent.

A.J. Long was limited and did not grip a football during drills. His right wrist was wrapped, also according to Mink.

Ron Thompson made the trip, according to Stephen Bailey of the Post-Standard, but mainly to help teach the younger defensive linemen and to do some lifting.

Practice was ended prematurely due to lightning.

Players Tour Aircraft Station

The Syracuse football team checked out an aircraft station, and the players seemed in awe of a Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopter according to Sam Blum of the Daily Orange. Ivan Foy, starting left tackle for the Orange, took three or four minutes to get in and out of the chopper, according to Blum.

”I’ve been coming here for a while and just seeing the helicopters is something we haven’t done before,” Foy told Blum. “It’s just amazing all the stuff that has to go into it. All the little things they have to do just to take off.”

The team also watched as “trained, motionless soldiers pointed snipers in full camouflage gear” according to Blum. Others took pictures in humvees.

Afterwards, sophomore linebacker Zaire Franklin put the trip into perspective.

”When we play, we all want to go undefeated,” he said. “We never want to lose. But if we lose a game, it’s really not that big of a deal. I was just talking to a soldier. He was saying how for them, losing means not seeing your family again or you lose your life. We never have to face that reality of never going home.”

You can check out a photo gallery HERE.

Shafer Press Conference Quotes

”It’s a pleasure and an honor to be here. So it’s great to be back at Fort Drum. Unfortunately, today at practice got cut short. So we didn’t get to get a whole lot of work done on the grass. What we did was we adjusted to the elements. We went into the gymnasiums over here and got a lot of mental work in.”

Parris Bennett is doing a nice job. He’s got his weight back up to where we were hoping he would get it. He’s playing good, physical football. He’s playing with his hands. He’s a very good athlete. For a guy that’s only about 6-foot, maybe 6-foot-1, he’s really god long limbs. He does a nice job getting his hands on people in the passing game, jamming and then redirecting. He’s got really nice body control. I think he’s going to be a real good football player.”

”I thought a couple of the running backs made a couple of good runs (at Fan Fest) that looked even better on film than when I was standing behind it. I felt like our tempo with our pass routes was just off a little bit. It was the first time we got on grass. We weren’t coming out of our breaks the way we were whether it was on the practice fields or at Einsley (Athletic Center). Got some timing issues that we’ve got to get fixed up on offense. That’s always the toughest scrimmage, I think, for the kids. We finally get to start banging for a couple days and they got heavy legs. Football legs. We got through it OK. I just want to see this next Thursday be evern sharper.”

”Sean (Avant), he can really get out of his cuts. He’s great off the line of scrimmage. His top end speed is good but not great. I think he’s taught himself over the years to become a real good route runner and he can stop on a dime. You could argue that he’s one of our best route runners.”

”We want to be able to walk out of here a tighter unit, a tighter team. We want to be able to watch the best leaders in the country and learn from them. We want to be able to pick the soldiers brains when we have an opportunity to. Listen to their stories, which in turn gives us the opportunity to appreciate what we have. Also, appreciate that they are protecting us so we can go play the greatest game ever created. For us, I think, you get those two sides of the fence. The chance to bond and get closer as a team and a chance to have true appreciation for what we have because of them.”

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