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Syracuse Football: Five Observations From 2015 Spring Game

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Let's discuss today's spring "game."

The Syracuse Orange held its annual spring football game Saturday afternoon at the Carrier Dome. No score was kept, but the team did spend most of the day scrimmaging itself.

Here are five observations from the scrimmage:

1. Hudson, Winfield shine in secondary

Cornerbacks Cordell Hudson and Corey Winfield headed a secondary that might have been Syracuse's most impressive unit Saturday, allowing the Orange's three quarterbacks to complete only 21 of 48 passes.

Winfield deflected one pass during the scrimmage and intercepted Terrel Hunt during 6-on-7 drills (the offensive didn't use a center). Hudson, meanwhile, broke up two passes and affected several others, despite the SU receivers having an obvious size advantage over the 5-foot-11 sophomore.

"I think we did pretty good," Hudson said of the secondary's performance. "All spring they've been testing us...we knew what was coming, and we just played it."

2. Hunt has up-and-down afternoon

Terrell Hunt had his moments Saturday. He showed off a nice touch on a few deep balls, completing passes for 30 and 39 yards. But for the most part, he looked rusty. Coming off of a broken leg suffered in October, Hunt completed just 10 of 30 passes and overthrew a number of receivers. On two separate drives, he missed open receivers for would-be touchdowns. But Hunt said he isn't concerned.

"I wish I could've connected more, but it happens," he said. "...I'd rather overthrow than underthrow."

3. Shafer pleased with Franklin

Sophomore linebacker Zaire Franklin, who played in all 12 games last season, finished with six tackles, just one shy of a game-high. Head coach Scott Shafer said he wasn't only impressed with Franklin today, but also with how he's played throughout the spring.

"Zaire's done a nice job," the coach said. "... He had a very good spring. He has a lot of work to continue to improve upon some of his pass drops, but he's a good, tough, physical middle linebacker. Good football player. He's going to have a very good career here.

4. Ishmael or Ishmeal? Either way, the wide receiver was very active

In February, Syracuse misspelled Roosevelt Bouie's name on the jersey used for his jersey retirement ceremony. Today, SU suffered another jersey spelling gaffe.

That's Steve Ishmael, wearing a jersey with his name spelled "Ishmeal." Perhaps the Bouie ceremony wasn't embarrassing enough for Syracuse.

Fortunately, Ishmael didn't let his jersey affect his performance. He had four receptions for a game-high 59 receiving yards and should have had a deep touchdown reception. In the first part of the scrimmage, the sophomore was wide open down the left sideline with nothing except turf in front of him, but Hunt misfired, overthrowing him.

5. Offensive line struggles

Syracuse averaged 3.4 yards per carry Saturday, running the ball 36 times for 122 yards. An optimistic fan might want to credit the defensive line for stifling SU's running backs. But it's difficult not to shift most of the blame to the offensive line, which was pushed around often. The Orange's defensive front seven had very little trouble getting in the backfield and wreaking havoc. Moving into the summer, Shafer and Co. might want to focus on cleaning things up on the o-line.