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Syracuse Football: Orange Change Preseason Fort Drum Schedule Again

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Syracuse football's week at the Upstate military post has become a staple of preseason camp, but the schedule will change this year under first-year head coach Dino Babers.

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Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

For regular attendees of Syracuse Orange football games over the past few years, the team running out of the tunnel with the Fort Drum flag has been a consistent image.

Emerging through the smoke and carried by one of the team captains, the flag has been a symbol of Syracuse's relationship with the upstate New York military post. The team has spent a week there for several summers now, and the bond even lends itself to the interlocking 44 crest on the football uniforms.

While that relationship will continue this year, the amount of time Syracuse spends there this preseason camp will be changing.

Syracuse will spend only one day at Fort Drum during training camp, a decrease from the past four summers when the team would spend almost a full week practicing there.

So, what is the reason behind the change in schedule this year? First-year head coach Dino Babers explained his rationale for altering the practice schedule in a statement to Syracuse.com on Tuesday morning.

"We very much look forward to spending the day up there in August getting to know those servicemen and women more. But right now, with where we are in our program, it's important we maximize our practice opportunities, and the best place for us to do that is on campus."

Syracuse is scheduled to travel to Fort Drum on August 21 for activities with military personnel. No practice is scheduled for that day.

The Orange's time at Fort Drum has been dwindling since it was first established by Doug Marrone in his fourth (and final) year as SU's head coach in 2012. That year, the team spent seven days at the military post. Last year, Scott Shafer had the Orange there for four days.

Although coach Babers will only have his team go to Fort Drum for one day this year, he has shown a strong willingness to continue the relationship. Earlier this summer, he invited Fort Drum personnel down to campus for a combine event, and last week, several of their men and women participated in the "Lift For Life" event at Manley Field House.

Syracuse starts preseason camp on August 6, with the season kicking off on September 2 in the Carrier Dome against Colgate.