Like Jack Burton and Doug Marrone say, "It's all in the reflexes."
Donnie Webb and Dave Rahme went nucking futs this weekend with Syracuse football updates. Excuse me while I try to catch up...
First up...Doug Marrone speaks! About things! Related to Syracuse football! Like how things are going! Great!
I'm excited about it. Kind of following the same blueprint we've talked about from the beginning and not having to force that. I feel very comfortable.
Doug's like Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China after drinking Egg Shen's potion in the elevator. He's not scared at all...he just feels kind of... feels kind of invincible.
Just remember what ol' Doug Marrone does when the earth quakes, and the poison arrows fall from the sky, and the pillars of the Carrier Dome shake. Yeah, Doug Marrone just looks that big ol' storm right square in the eye and he says, "Give me your best shot, pal. I can take it."
Though Doug might be a little too comfortable if you ask me. He's letting his guard down a little too much:
You should hear what the other people are saying about us. I'm not going to say anything about the other schools. I'm just keeping it in. I know what they're saying, and I don't want them to know that I know already, you know what I'm saying?
You know...I think they know. Just so you know.
Don't be lulled into thinking HCDM is completely happy. If there's one area Doug wants to be improved, it's the offensive line. It HAS to be improved. And so far, to Dougers, it's anything but.
"It's not the standard I envision for our football team," Marrone said recently in describing a unit that will return four veterans, five including tight end Mike Owen.
Tell us how you really feel, Doug. Marrone takes it as a personal challenge to improve the unit ("If they're not getting better, that's my fault") and expects to focus a lot of his attention on the unit. You can be sure that depath charts and "paid dues" don't mean a whole lot to him right now.
One lineman in particular is going to have a lot of eyeballs on him. Mostly because there's a lot of him to take in. Andrew Tiller, Nassau Community College transfer and junior-college All-American might be listed at 360 in the media guide but that's an extremely kind assessment at this time.
Right now 360 is more goal than reality. Head coach Doug Marrone admitted Tiller's girth may be closer to an earthquake-producing 400 than 360 these days courtesy of a foot injury that suspended his conditioning work, which is now proceeding.
"We're working on him," Marrone said. "He has to bring his weight down, OK?
Regardless, Tiller's got a ways to go on the scale and on the practice field if he wants to see some playing time soon. He's currently third in line at RT on the Fall Practice Depth Chart, which has been updated to include new players.
Arthur Jones is atop the depth chart and the state of his pectoral muscle is top of mind for all Syracuse fans. Doug Marrone's too.
Orange head coach Doug Marrone said his expectation is that Jones can participate in all parts of camp including contact.
"Art is in very good shape . . . very good shape," Marrone said. "I'm very happy with what's gone on in this off-season. I'm excited about that."
Defensive end Jared Kimmel and running back Mike Jones, both coming off surgery as well, will be ready to go also.
As a side note, don't expect to see recruit Dale Peterman in a Syracuse uniform. He was an academic non-qualifyer and likely going to junior college. Bummer, he seemed excited.
Finally, Doug Marrone would love to tell you how great Greg Paulus is looking. He really would. He'd love to tell you that he's liked what he's seen and his own eyes bore witness to Paulus' greatness. Well, he hasn't...but he hears good thing.
"I know he's worked extremely hard," Marrone said. "The ability to work hard and process information ... I've never personally been around a college athlete who has worked this hard off the field, in the classroom, on his own. I think he's gotten stronger. He's put on weight. He's gotten faster. I'm excited to see when he goes out there and performs. We're not allowed to watch them perform the skill of football after spring ball."
That raises the question, what skills ARE you allowed to watch them perform? Actually, don't answer that.