Going into spring practice for the Syracuse Orange this year, there have been plenty of questions around how the team will use Dontae Strickland. The answer has yet to be found for the sophomore running back/wide receiver, but that's likely to come in time as the offense begins to take form.
In the meantime, attending media at today's spring practice session got to chat with Strickland for the first time this year. Some of the main takeaways:
Dontae is definitely going to spend some time in the backfield
Syracuse RB/WR Dontae Strickland is enjoying his time in the backfield. Hasn't played there regularly since before high school.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) March 1, 2016
Last year, he displayed a nose for the end zone and looked pretty good on handoffs, with 81 yards on 21 carries (that number hurt by a couple failed reverses). We still don't know to what extent he'll run, if at all. But it's good to see him at least lining up there as an option. Interesting to hear he hasn't played there regularly since before high school, however. Especially since he came in as a running back, technically.
This staff's got more swag
Strickland, one of the roster's many "younger" players, says the current staff relates better to the players than the old one did. Since many of the coaches are younger, that seems to have created a quicker bond between them and contributors new and old at SU. The fact that there's "swag" on top of that only makes sense. I mean, have you SEEN the amount of Drake gifs Sean Lewis tosses around?
New offense needs more study time
Once the core concept's installed and practiced at length, it probably becomes an easier process. But when you go from last year's offense which largely ran out of the option and this year's which will likely bring a lot more looks (and not the option at all), it makes sense things could take some time to learn. Strickland says it's taken him a lot more studying so far, with more notes and film sessions on top of that. Again, given the relative youth of this offense, that's probably the case for many of them. Hopefully we can get a read on how the download's going come the spring game.
One more from Syracuse RB/WR Dontae Strickland: The football team isn't happy with SU's hoverboard ban. Was go-to buy; now they stay home.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) March 1, 2016
Strickland shared that Syracuse University's current ban on hoverboards has the entire roster pretty unhappy. That go-to holiday gift they all received just a couple months ago is now an expensive paper weight in their bedrooms at their parents' houses. Can't fault either side for this conflict (#Hoverboardghazi), either. I mean, have you seen what happens to people on these things? Counter: Have you seen what people can do on these things?
Plenty more from Strickland and the rest of the offense throughout the spring. Unfortunately for the players' hoverboard hopes however, the TNIAAM staff is firmly with Team Syverud on that issue.