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Syracuse Fan Fest Recap: Defense Looks Sharp, Offense Incorporates Option, Plus More Notes

Yesterday's Fan Fest provided a decent first look at the 2015 Orange football team.

Syracuse Football's Twitter Feed

Beyond the inflatable jumpies, a whole lot happened at yesterday's Syracuse Orange Fan Fest. Some of the important items for you:

Looks like we're getting some option this year? While the offense did not show much from the new playbook, they were utilizing some option plays here and there (especially with Hunt). As Stephen Bailey points out at, those were minimally successful, though they did set up some quality double-option reverses.

Defense still looking sharp. We'll get to the injuries, but those who were on the field were performing at a high level. Rodney Williams appears to be ready for the spotlight, picking off two passes and overall, looking ready for an increased role in the Orange secondary. The starting linebackers (Marqez Hodge, Parris Bennett, Zaire Franklin) all put their quick instincts on display, and should put to bed any worries about the young group that were left. Due to injury, the defensive line gave glimpses of the freshmen, including defensive tackle Steven Clark, who we'll see plenty of this season.

Red zone offense scores four times. As the team continues to implement the red zone elements of Tim Lester's offense, we at least see some progress (yes, it's a scrimmage) in one of its trouble areas from last season. A portion of the 60 plays the team ran were specifically situated in the red zone, and the hybrids and wide receivers all got in on the action.

Passing game looks better. Though it's hard not to look improved from last year (and the team is not really showing much at this sort of scrimmage), SU did look better throwing the ball. Terrel Hunt completed a high percentage of his passes and connected on three scores, despite some early timing issues. Austin Wilson was able to put some air on the ball, but also threw two interceptions. Walk-on Zach Mahoney looked accurate, while Eric Dungey is still finding his sea legs within the offense.

Injuries. Ugh. Unfortunately, this was a glaring part of Fan Fest, as a host of important Syracuse players were sidelined with various major and minor injuries, and another added his name to that list during the scrimmage. John Raymon, Ron Thompson, Kayton Samuels, Alvin Cornelius, Dontae Strickland Alryk Perry and A.J. Long were all out, with several due to be sidelined for several weeks. Thompson's foot was in a boot, which should horrify you. Julian Whigham also came down wrong on his foot, which... will probably be an issue.

Plenty more to share on Fan Fest beyond the above. But we'll leave that to various social media posts from SU:

Scott Shafer also shared his thoughts on Fan Fest, which you should check out here:

Oh, and this pretty solid teaser came out yesterday and... looks like we have some lofty goals this fall.

Were you there? Have anything else to share? Give us your thoughts in the comments.