Syracuse Orange football practice has officially passed the halfway mark for the spring and it's a good time to check in and see how everyone is acclimating.
Before we dive in, one note for the upcoming spring game that's music to my ears...
Those wondering what the format will be for the April 2 spring game: offense vs. defense scrimmage.— Nate Mink (@MinkNate) March 10, 2016
R.I.P, Thud Drills.
While the players are doing their best to catch up to their new system, running backs coach Mike Hart and tight ends coach Reno Ferri are in the same position. The two newbies are working for Dino Babers for the first time and both seem to be picking things up quickly.
"I think any time you're talking about the offense and the type of success we've had with the offense, when a coach has an opportunity to come in and learn this, I think they're more excited," Babers said after practice on Thursday. "It's just a matter of them wanting to learn exactly what we do more so than them trying to bring in things they did at other places."
Kielan Whitner, Eric Dungey's roommate: "Eric's a dancing machine. Whatever is the hot new dance, whatever is old, he does it all."— Matt Schneidman (@matt_schneidman) March 10, 2016
You might be ready to write Eric Dungey's name in permanent marker on the starting QB spot but Dino Babers hasn't seen enough seperation yet to feel comfortable doing that.
"They're still thinking a lot," Babers said. "They're all doing some good things out there. I don't think there's been a major separation. We've only really had one scrimmage and we'll have most of our scrimmages (two) after spring break. I think you need to decide on quarterbacks in game-like situations more so than practice."
"If there's a guy, (I'll name him)," Babers said. "If it's too close to call, then it's too close to call. If there's a guy that separates himself, then that's good."
Of course, all of this may just be a ruse for Babers to take the starting gig for himself:
Dino the quarterback pic.twitter.com/XwsZ3NFEKi— Nate Mink (@MinkNate) March 10, 2016
Alvin Cornelius has one more chance to make an impact this year and he's going to make the most of it.
"I haven't really gotten that many opportunities since I've been here," Cornelius said earlier this week, "but since Coach (Dino) Babers and them came I'm running with the first-team, getting a lot of passes thrown to me. Even though it's spring ball right now I can see that when the season comes I'll have a big opportunity to make plays, so I'm just trying to make the best of it."
Here's a good look for Steve Ishmael. Not so much for Juwan Dowels.
Two hands, Josh!
Jake Pickard spoke with Stephen Bailey and shared some insight into what its been like for him so far.
Syracuse rFr. DE Jake Pickard on practice tempo: "It's like nothing I've ever seen before. It's faster than a 2-minute drill, all practice."— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) March 10, 2016
Syracuse rFr. DE Jake Pickard: "As a team, we want to leave the old Syracuse reputation behind us. This is a new era of Syracuse football."— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) March 10, 2016
Syracuse rFr. DE Jake Pickard: Babers hasn't said he wants a new era; the feel comes naturally. Simply put: "Shit is changing around here."— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) March 10, 2016
Syracuse rFr. DE Jake Pickard declined to name the first-team d-line, but listed rSo. DT Chris Slayton as a standout performer— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) March 10, 2016
Jonathan Thomas intercepted a pass at the goal line, stopping a potential touchdown drive by the offense during the first team session.
Sounds like Sterling Hofrichter is going to lock up the punter spot, replacing Heisman candidate Riley Dixon (though he also nailed a 52-yard field goal in practice). Can The Hof live up to the lofty heights his predecessor reached?
Sophomore punter Sterling Hofrichter on his Heisman chances post-Riley Dixon: "That's pushing it...we'll see with time."— Matt Schneidman (@matt_schneidman) March 10, 2016