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Syracuse vs. Villanova: Game-Time Decision For Omari Palmer, Erv Phillips Will Return Kicks

The latest updates as the Orange prepare for the Wildcats.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Just a day to go before the 2014 season kicks off and the Syracuse Orange take on the Villanova Wildcats in the Dome. Let's make sure we've got everything squared away...

QB

If Syracuse blows out Villanova early, expect to see Austin Wilson under center in the fourth quarter. He beat out A.J. Long for the back-up spot. Of course, there's another way Wilson could end up out there but lalalalalala we won't discuss that.

RB

No Jerome Smith? No problems. Scott Shafer says this year's RB group is "as strong as its been since I've been here." That's something considering last year's backfield was the most productive in his five years on the Hill.

George Morris II says whatever role he can have, he's going to take it to help SU win.

TE

Between Kendell Moore and Jamal Custis, TE coach Bobby Acosta sounds pretty psyched about the potential for the unit on Friday.

"You just have to put Custis out there and, knowing the base offense, you just have to see how he's going to react when the bullets start flying. And as soon as he adjusts to the speed of the game and the Dome and the people in the Dome, I think he's going to be OK. He adds that other dimension like Josh, you know, more of a pass catcher. So between him and Kendall, we should do pretty well with that."

OL

Don't expect to see Omari Palmer line up against the Cats. The RS sophomore guard is a game-time decision but Shafer doesn't sound all that positive about his chances of playing. Alex Hayes and Seamus Shanley (who I believe is a professional wrestler) may be called upon to fill the gap left behind as Nick Robinson will also be MIA.

DL

Ron Thompson is listed as the 2nd-stringer on both DE slots, but as far as Scott Shafer is concerned, Thompson is "another starter." The "sixth starter" thing has finally spread from the basketball team.

ST

It's official. Freshman Ervin Philips will join sophomore Brisly Estime on the kick return unit on Friday. Estime will also return punts with Ritchy Desir.

Shafer also mentioned that three freshman will be on kick coverage teams. Jonathan Thomas and Antwan Cordy will be on the kick return unit while Zaire Franklin will be on the punt return squad.

Coach Shafer is putting Ryan Norton's transgressions in the past and he has faith that the kicker will come through when called upon...

"I have all the trust in the world that Ryan will have a good season, and I'm confident that you guys will see the same Friday night."