With FanFest cancelled due to weather concerns, there were no public attendees at today’s Syracuse Orange football scrimmage. Yet, the Orange still managed to make the most of the day at the Carrier Dome, as Cuse.com’s own recap points out.
According to SU coach Dino Babers, the team ran about 150 plays in an hour and 45 minutes, and he was pleased with the pace of things:
"I thought the tempo was extremely good. I thought it was physical. There was some good hitting out there, which is important when you're trying to get ready for a tough conference like the ACC. It was nice and humid in the Carrier Dome, just the way we like it. Although we didn't have the sun in our face and grapes in our mouth, I thought we got better today."
Mention on Dome heat? Check.
Entertaining quote involving grapes? Also check.
While Syracuse failed to publish a formal score, their recap did point out some key statistics. Dontae Strickland had two rushing touchdowns on the afternoon, while Jordan Fredericks (one rushing, one receiving) and Maryland transfer Amba Etta-Tawo (both receiving) also chipped in two apiece.
Eric Dungey and Zack Mahoney combined for three touchdown passes on the day, all in the second half. Mahoney actually contributed the longest TD pass of the day, a 30-yarder to Etta-Tawo. You’ll recall that Mahoney struggled with downfield accuracy last year, though that didn’t seem to be the case on Saturday.
The Orange defense, which is still managing the transition to a Tampa-2 scheme, managed five sacks and forced three turnovers on the afternoon. One of those turnovers was a pick-six by freshman safety Evan Foster. Redshirt freshman Troy Henderson had a red zone fumble recovery as well. Henderson also had a sack on the day, as did Colorado transfer De’Jon Wilson, freshmen Jaquwan Nelson and Kenneth Ruff, and sophomore Steven Clark.
While just notes on a scrimmage, the above is starting to give us a better sense of how some players could be used in Babers’s offensive and defensive schemes. Those that were concerned about the pass-rush should be glad to see a good push from the team’s linemen, resulting in some sacks. And younger players (Foster, Tim Walton) recording interceptions is also a good sign. Offensively, Mahoney may still have the inside track to the backup QB job. We’ll also be seeing quite a bit of Etta-Tawo, who could be making a play for the fourth starting receiver role, given his speed.
So while FanFest’s cancellation is a bummer, at least the team got to use the time well. Enjoy your Saturdays, and may your mouths be filled with grapes.