With a week and half to go before Syracuse begins it's ever-important 2009 season, the most important story of the day has to be...the new freshman kicker. Obviously.
Jake Smith, who is indeed on scholarship, joined the team in practice yesterday. Due to some cockamamie NCAA rule, he'll have to spend his first three days in shorts and without full padding for three days. We, and Doug Marrone, will know more about Smith and his ability to supplant Ryan Lichtenstein as the starting kicker then.
Just in case you think it was a lie that Syracuse was a little short in the kicking depth department, HCDM would like to correct you.
"You know, we needed it. We were short. That's not a lie".
According to Marrone, Smith was also valuable as a back-up punter in the Fear-Of-God event that Rob Long goes down with an injury. In the meantime, it's up to Smith to prove he can compete with Lichtenstein for the field goal job. However, the job is apparently Lichtenstein's to lose.
"If Ryan goes in there and he doesn't make the kick, then obviously we have someone that can compete against him. He has to win it. Ryan has to fail at doing what he's doing because he's doing a good job."
As for the guys who play offense and defense, it was the defense's day at practice yesterday. Lots of goal line and red zone issues for the offense, coupled with some bad plays at wideout and offsides errors by the line, make for one very agitated HCDM. So flustered by the offensive miscues, Doug Marrone slipped into a Greg Robinson-esque manner-of-speaking:
From a standpoint of offensively, that's not what we're looking for.
What? I know what he was TRYING to say, but...no.
Dougles also noted that the "training camp" portion of the preseason is now over. Now it's all about finalizing the offensive and defensive packages and finally turning their attention to Minnesota. Would be a good time to get started as the folks over at Minnesota are already working on game-planning us. Expect a final depth chart to emerge by Friday or Saturday.
One area that could be surprising when that depth chart is revealed is the starting D-line. Most expected Jared Kimmel to return from his injury and easily work himself back into the starting role at DE. Not if Mikhail Marinovich has anything to do with it. The sophomore is pushing Kimmel, which can only help in his own battle to overcome ACL surgery. Either way, expect both to see tons of action and the D-line to be better for it.
As for how the Orange will handle gameday itself...that's already been worked out by Tremendous himself.He's got the pre-game rituals down to a science. And for those of you are bummed about how early you'll have to get your head ready for a noon game, you've got nothing on the SU players.
"During the games we have a set routine on how we come out...We'll get together and stretch, quickly, then break up into individual. Then we'll have 7-on-7 and one-on-ones and then after that, we'll have a team, then we'll kick a field goal and then we'll kick a punt and then go in and come out to play. That's how we'll come out for the game. I know that. How we come out for practice, I don't pay attention to the line or who they walk out with."
Thank the fracking lord we won't be seeing the hand-holding walk-out ever again.