As you most certainly know, the Syracuse Orange football spring game was this past weekend. Sean F. was there and provided all the pertinent info you needed if you missed it.
Attendance figures are a big talking point for Orange folks. It's not uniforms, but, it always gets people worked up one way or another. They either love to bemoan them or love to bemoan those doing the bemoaning. This year's spring game boasted a 4,071 attendance. That doesn't sound amazing, especially compared to the Alabama's and Florida State's of the world. However, considering that it's about 250 more folks than last year, any of whom could have stayed home to watch the game on local television, and you have to take it as a promising sign as well as proof that "if you win, they will come."
It's silly to compare ourselves to the big boys because we're a different animal. In fact, I think the only comparisons that are needed are with ourselves. Are we attracting more people to the spring game than last year? Good sign. Will we get more people in the Dome for the home opener than we did last year? If so, good sign. If not, there's more work to be done. Comparisons beyond that only fuel disappointment and frustration.
Scott Shafer said as much before the spring game, purposefully-or-not, linking good football to increased attendance.
"I just really want this to be your team," Shafer said while addressing the crowd before the Spring Game. "Our goal is increased attendance. Our job is to play good football."
If Syracuse keeps winning in 2014, that spring game attendance will be even higher next year. Not that attendance in April is the goal. It's just a good barometer of how SU fans are feeling about the team's potential moving forward.
Couple interesting notes and nuggets to come out of the weekend...
Former SU defensive tackle Jay Bromley spoke to Chris Carlson about who he thinks this year's breakout defensive star will be and the answer may or may not surprise you.
"Oh, I got a guy," Bromley exclaimed at Syracuse's spring game on Saturday. "You know I have a guy. Ron Thompson. He's the guy I'm putting all the eggs in my basket on."
"He has the most potential," Bromley said of Thompson. "He has the most upside of anyone. He's our most athletic defensive lineman, our fastest. This is only his second year playing the position. It's going to be scary when he puts it all together."
We're looking forward to seeing if the former four-star TE recruit can live up to the hype.
Speaking of heralded recruits, Corey Cooper's arrival at Syracuse has been long-awaited. And you may have to wait a little while longer to see him in action. OC George McDonald said it's still up in the air whether or not the four-star recruit will play or get redshirted.
"If he can play a meaningful impact and help us win games, he'll probably play," offensive coordinator George McDonald said following the spring game. "If it's going to be a limited role, he'll probably redshirt. Right now at that position, we're able to the play the best and develop the younger guys without forcing them out there."
Missy Shafer was on hand at the spring game and she summed up what Coach Shafer's mindset is not only going into the 2014 season but also for the Syracuse program as a whole.
"His problem is he doesn't want to let the community down," his wife, Missy, said. "He wants to make this the community's team. For them to have to witness what happened against Clemson or Florida State, he feels like he let the community down. He feels like he's not putting a team on the field that they're proud of. That's stuck with him more than anything."