March 24, 2016
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - There are just four practice sessions remaining for the Syracuse Orange prior to the Spring Game, after this morning. Two will be held over the weekend and media availability is allowed for the last two next week, as well as the game itself. So much has been made of the new speed in SU's philosophy under Head Coach Dino Babers, and it has been evident on both sides of the ball. But, much of that won't be seen until maybe a glimpse during the Spring Game, and then during the regular season. Each practice has consisted of many of the same drills in the 10 minute period for the media to take photos and videos (located from a designated sideline). The defense will sometimes switch things up by breaking up into small groups and the offensive line will work on various techniques. Quarterbacks and receivers always work on quick routes, the running backs are located in the corner of the facility working explosive moves and cuts, and the kicking team usually takes a few reps before the time period is up. Regardless of what is worked on, repetitive or not, the message is clear. Players must work on their core fundamentals over and over until it becomes better than rote. Every nuance of coaching is focused on attention to detail and holding players accountable. There has even been a few times after a practice session, when the media is let in, where Coach Babers is seen having discussions with his staff about holding them (coaches) accountable as well. There always seems to be no stone left unturned, even though barely a card of the hand they are playing is revealed. Most aspects of game plan and strategy are secretive, and it is not hard to understand that. However, the one revealing trait is that the Orange are motivated and although the goals aren't discussed entirely it is clear they want to change the image of football both on campus and nationally. Here are some takeaways from today's morning session:
- Quarterbacks and receivers looked as sharp as ever. Just a couple of drops throughout the entire set of reps, and even some great one-handed catches rounded out drill work. The following receivers looked their best today: (8) Steve Ishmael, (14) Kenterius Womack, (87) Kendall Moore and (90) Cameron MacPherson.
- Eric Dungey seems on point as the quarterback to beat. There are no specific way to describe it, but his demeanor, improved accuracy and interview presence implies that he wants this job and will take on any challengers.
- Today's offensive line drills were much of the same. Stressing stance and explosion throughout the workout. It has been widely discussed about SU recruiting more offensive line talent, but this current group also wants to prove they deserve to remain high on the depth chart.
- The defense focused mostly on stretching today. Prior to the team breaking down to begin practice, the defense (which includes members of special teams) worked lightly on blocking and defending extra points and field goals.
- Running backs were again in the corner of the facility working on strength development by simulating pushing through holes with their teammates slapping at the ball trying to get a strip.
Music: Santana and hip-hop mix as usual.
*Note: View the video playlist for more sights and sounds from the morning session.