Syracuse Football Practice Recap: Game Week Begins

via media.syracuse.com

Wow, already? We actually play football this weekend.  Fan-friggin-tastic.

Coaches

Doug Marrone's job is not on the line in Year Two but it's certainly a critical year in terms of him moving the program forward.

"You feel that (pressure to win) on one end. And then on the other end, you have the obligation to do it the right way. The right way for the student-athletes, for the school, for the faculty, it goes on and on," Marrone said.

Doug spoke about as candidly as we've heard from him regarding the lost players.  Nolan says that HCDM reaffirmed that Mike Williams did indeed quit.  With all of the players who have left the program over the last two years, he can muster the only thing you can expect to hear from a guy who eats and breathes Syracuse football: "I was surprised that anyone would want to leave, honestly."

Former OL Tucker Baumbach says that although he didn't see eye-to-eye with Marrone, his work ethic and style is still a vast improvement from his predacessor:

"That’s kind of what we needed more than the Robinson era," he said. "I really liked Coach Robinson, but I don’t think his style was necessarily the best fit for the type of players we had. I don’t know if he was necessarily the right fit at the time."

Then there's DC Scott Shafer, who's glad to have a little stability of his own.  After being with five schools in seven years, the defensive guru is settling in at Syracuse and loving what he sees from the players.

For me the joy is the daily process. I really enjoy being in the meeting room with Mike Holmes, Shamarko (Thomas) and Phillip Thomas, Kevyn Scott, and the process of, ‘What did you see here (on film)?’ and say it and then the next day they see it before you see it and you say, man, we’re progressing.

QB

Ryan Nassib is excited about this season in a way that makes it seem he's not excited at all.  (Can someone cattle-prod him before games to make sure he's awake?)

RB

Antwon Bailey is ready, FYI.

"I’ve had a few games here and there. I’ve been in that role-playing position. I think it’s just time for me to take things to the next level. We have an offensive line that’s been working great together, Delone (Carter) just came back and hasn’t missed a beat, the receivers are doing well, the quarterbacks are doing well. I just think that in order for us to be the type of team we want to be I have to elevate my game."

OL

This is the best Syracuse offensive line in years.  How do I know?  Cause the guys who line up against them every day say so.

"The offensive line is the best I’ve seen in the five years I’ve been here" - Andrew Lewis

"This is the best I’ve ever seen them as a unit." - Bud Tribbey

"Delone (Carter) is going to love running behind those guys and (Ryan) Nassib is going to love being protected by those guys." - Lewis

DL

You can never say Chandler Jones and Mikhail Marinovich are settling.  Jones says he was "not impressed" with what he did last year on the field.  As for Mikhail, he has very lofty expectations for his fellow defensemen.

"I feel there’s no reason we shouldn’t be top five in the nation, in all categories."

What about TDs Given Up?  You don't want to be top five in that.  Specifics, Mikhail!  Be specific!

LB

Another day, another watch list for Derrell Smith.  This time it's the 2010 Rotary Lombardi Award, given to the nation's top linebacker, or down lineman on offense or defense.

Syracuse University football opens season Saturday
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