What to Watch for at the Syracuse Spring Game on Saturday

Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

I was going to use the title, "10 Things to Watch for at the Syracuse Spring Game". But I didn't want this to become the Buzzfeed takeover of TNIAAM. You get the point.

No. 1 – What channel is it on?

The game begins at 1 p.m and will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports. I'll repeat that last bit to save our fearless leader from some Tweets. The game will be televised on Time Warner Cable Sports. For those who are going, the Carrier Dome opens at 10 a.m. For those of you who aren't in the region, follow along on Twitter for updates. (EDIT: Or better, on WatchESPN)

No. 2 – The format.

The game won't be scored in a traditional manner. I would attempt to summarize it, but you're probably best off just watching Brent Axe's video from Tuesday.

No. 3 – Scott Shafer's live mic.

Hopefully, it goes better than this. At first, it seemed that Shafer would be wearing the microphone throughout the event. And then this week, he indicated that it may only be at the beginning of the event. "I’m not good with the mic on," he joked. "I have to watch what I’m saying. It’s not a strength."

No. 4 – The jerseys.

If you're hoping to get another look at Syracuse's new uniforms, don't get your hopes up. I'm told that SU will likely be wearing its jerseys from last year one unit in white and one unit in blue.

No. 5 – The attendance.

It will be interesting to see how the end to last season translates into fan interest. Last year, the Spring Game attendance didn't come close to OC George McDonald's prediction of 20,000 fans. This year, he's abstaining from making any lofty estimates, he told the Post-Standard.

No. 6 – John Miller.

For the first time in three seasons, Syracuse has a question mark under center. Macky MacPherson's graduation leaves a big hole to fill. Miller seems to be the go-to guy and Shafer has complimented his progress throughout spring. "John Miller could be the most improved player right now," Shafer said on April 8. "We moved him in at center and I liked the way it looked the last two practices."

No. 7 – The offensive line, in general.

Injuries to the offensive line have almost single-handedly prevented the team from playing a traditional Spring Game. In addition to the injuries, Ivan Foy is inactive after being suspended for academic reasons. All of this would make it difficult to field two complete lines on Saturday. The only silver lining is Miller's progress. If he starts at center, it allows the other lineman to stay at their previous positions. "With John Miller playing well, it gives us the luxury of playing Robbie (Trudo) either at guard or center," Shafer said. "I’ve always liked Robbie at guard."

No. 8 – Ritchy Desir.

Durell Eskridge, Dyshawn Davis and Cameron Lynch – those are the key returning defensive players. But you may have to add Desir's name to that list. He's had a solid spring, including another interception in practice on Tuesday. With Eskridge being out of the lineup (finger and hip injuries), Desir has taken advantage of increased playing time. "He’s a kid that’s always done a great job reading the quarterback," Shafer said. "He’s really worked hard and he’s had an opportunity to flourish."

No. 9 – The running back position.

Even without Jerome Smith, SU will have a crowded backfield in 2014. Prince-Tyson Gulley, George Morris and Devante McFarlane will get the majority of carries. The coaching staff has raved about Morris' breakaway speed, but says he needs to improve in pass protection. Adonis Ameen-Moore lost some weight and ran very well in the only open scrimmage to the media. But Shafer said he'd like to see AAM lose even more – about 10-15 pounds – before increasing his workload.

No. 10 – No. 10 himself, Terrel Hunt.

He won the Texas Bowl by running away from a few Minnesota defenders and into the end zone. This spring, he appears to be running away from the competition. Hunt was poised and polished in Syracuse's open practice. He has command of the offense and is equipped to handle the pace of McDonald's up-tempo offense.

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