The 2013 Syracuse Orange football season kinda-sorta officially got underway Sunday with media day, the day-before-the-day when players put on the pads and enter fall camp. All your favorite folks were there and a whole bunch of newbies, coaches & players, were on hand as well. Let's find out what we learned...
New head coach Scott Shafer wants everyone to really get to know one another in camp this year. That's why he's all about "heavy contact."
"From a philosophical point of view I really believe in starting camp early with some good physical contact," Shafer said at his news conference Sunday. "Then measuring every day where you're at. Do we need more? Do we need less?"
"Unfortunately you're going to have injuries that's part of the game, and you can't anticipate how many at which position," Shafer said. "You knock on wood, and at the end of the day we play football. As we inch our way closer to Penn State, back off a little bit and get them freshened up, get them ready to play."
Shafer did make note to mention that he and the coaches will be instilling some very specific tackling techniques in order to make sure the Orange don't run afoul of new NCAA rules.
As you might imagine, QB talk pretty much dominated the day. So...let's talk quarterback battle...
The gist? Shafer said that the position is "wide open," that he has no timetable to name a starter and Drew Allen has no upper-hand given his status. If anything, Terrel Hunt remains the frontrunner (in theory).
"We've got figure it out, figure out who is ready to play and make those decisions," Shafer said. "You can't look into a crystal ball and say, 'This is the number of reps this guy needs to compete.' You've got to just throw it out there and let them go."
While Allen is a newbie, Shafer isn't going to treat him like a freshman.
"No, he’s a senior," Shafer said. "He stood up yesterday with the newbies, and then I reminded everybody that he’s a true senior here so he’s ready to go."
Brent Axe has some audio from Drew about what he's bringing to the table and what his expectations are. And when asked about himself one times too many, Allen uttered the kind of answer you might want to hear out of a potential QB1:
"I don't really like talking about myself...I like talking more about the team, honestly."
Poliquin described Allen as, "a young man who looks as if he climbed out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog."
Hey, remember Charley Loeb? Poor RGLCL went into this season as the guy at the top of the depth chart and by the time the Penn St. game gets here, he might be all the way down at 4th. Still, don't count the senior out.
Aside from the quarterback spot, the next-most-anticipated position on the team might be the mysterious H-back slot, currently home to Ashton Broyld. The big question remains Broyld's mastery of the playbook but his strength is also an area of some much-needed improvement:
"I did a lot of weight room stuff, I just couldn't power clean and stuff where I was just putting pressure on my ankle," Broyld said. "I just basically rehabbed and got in my playbook."
Ron Thompson came to Syracuse with the kind of hype and possibility that made it look like he's rewrite the record books at tight end. After an injury and roster rejiggering, he's a defensive lineman with a whole other kind of potential. Thompson sounds pretty happy about the move, not to mention that he's getting stronger and healthier:
"All my numbers pretty much went up," Thompson said Sunday at the team's media day at Manley Field House. "So that tells me I'm making the progress to keep getting better and better each year."
"I knew that eventually, if things played out, that what Coach Shafer wanted then I'd probably be on defense."
Shafer mentioned that Malcolm Howard, a JUCO transfer out of Texas, did not qualify academically and won't be joining the team. So it goes.
Here's Syracuse.com's video recaps of Media Day...