As one might expect, I'm pretty excited for football... despite the fact that it's just spring. And it's Syracuse (cue the jokes everyone outside of these walls was likely to make anyway). But even with a small amount of practice under the Orange's belts for 2015, we have plenty to talk about already. And by we, I mean Syracuse.com's Stephen Bailey, who covered a lot of things already. THEN we.
First is Rob Trudo, who is getting early reps at center. He spent time with the first team offense, while other linemen including Jamar McGloster, Michael Lasker, Aaron Roberts, Ivan Foy and Omari Palmer -- plus Kendall Moore, who was a tight end previously, but could be crowded out given the number of players at that position now, so plugging him into a green O-line might be a great way to keep him involved.
Where things get a bit hazy is at some of the skill positions. And again, this is just early spring practice, so nothing is carved in stone yet. Trey Dunkelberger (tight end) and Steve Ishmael (wide receiver) saw time with the first-team at their traditional spots, while Ashton Broyld seemed to switch around between is traditional H-back role and tight end, along with fellow H-backs Brisly Estime and Erv Phillips. Ben Lewis also seems to be getting some H-back reps, which... makes sense and is also confusing. According to Tim Lester, Dunkelberger and Josh Parris seem to have the inside track on those tight end spots early.
Defensively, Ron Thompson was practicing primarily on the edge, while Chris Slayton was in the tackle role. There's some concern about size on the inside now, especially with the bad news about Marcus Coleman coming out yesterday. Repeated foot injuries have unfortunately ended his playing career. We wish him good luck going forward.
On special teams, Cole Murphy looks to be first-team for the time being, and A.J. Long takes his first crack at holder duties.
And for those who wanted a few updates from the coaches, here are two of those:
Lester said the goal is to install about 50% of the offense this spring, roughly 15-20 plays with variances.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) February 25, 2015
Syracuse DL coach Tim Daoust declined to comment about the possibility of him joining Pat Narduzzi's staff at Pitt this winter.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) February 25, 2015
I wouldn't call any of these large-scale "surprises," per se. There's definitely change afoot -- which is probably good given the season Syracuse just finished up. There's concerns still, including the offensive and defensive lines, but we knew those already. The main goals of spring will be to begin to sort those situations out, while also getting a handle on who among the various playmakers within this offense can really step up in Lester's new system.
... Fun times ahead! We'll continue to capture additional items of note as they happen over the next five weeks.