The Syracuse Orange football program held its annual spring game on Friday. Fans were treated with the opportunity to catch a glimpse of this year’s football team, and all that it has in store.
This year, while somewhat unexciting, displayed the potential of this experienced defensive line. Lead by senior Chris Slayton and Alton Robinson, they consistently were able to get into the backfield tonight.
Robinson totaled a sack and a tackle for a loss and Slayton batted down a pass in the first half. He appeared to have hurt his right knee late in preview, but he was able to jog off the field.
Antwan Cordy suited up on defense, even as he is expected to make the switch to slot receiver for the upcoming season. He played primarily as a nickel corner but was also the primary punt returner.
Chris Frederick was the stand-out defensive back, playing fairly stifling and lockdown defense on anyone who he covered. After playing zone for much of last year, he was impressive playing man-to-man. Scoop Bradshaw was also able to play after playing with one healthy arm for much of last year.
Chris Elmore also made an appearance at defensive line after switching from his primary role as a full-back last season. He looked fairly athletic playing defensive tackle, something to keep an eye on in the future.
On the other side of the ball, senior quarterback Eric Dungey was unavailable recovering from foot surgery a few months ago.
Three quarterbacks saw multiple drives tonight: redshirt-freshman Tommy DeVito, redshirt-junior Clayton Welch, and freshman Chance Amie.
Devito, who was a four-star quarterback coming out of high school, completed eight passes on 15 attempts for 58 yards. He, displayed his arm strength on an incomplete deep ball, but was fairly accurate on most comeback routes.
Welch, who will most likely be the third-string quarterback this year, completed a touchdown to Ravian Pierce in the first half. He completed nine of 15 passes for 63 yards and the score to Pierce.
Amie was perhaps the most impressive of the three. He bursted out of multiple options into the secondary using his blazing fast speed. He was able to walk into the end zone after fooling the defense on an option. He also went 5-8 for 29 drives.
Only 18, he is a bit slim for an ACC quarterback at only 196 lbs. Hopefully, after a redshirt year, he will put on more muscle to protect himself from NFL defensive lineman at other schools.
Perhaps the most impressive offensive players, running backs Moe Neal and Dontae Strickland were explosive in the running game. Neal carried the ball 10 times for 70 yards while Strickland had eight for 81 and score. The most experienced returning playmakers, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see these two get the bulk of the touches on offense. Going forward, I would expect the offense to be based around Neal, Strickland, and Dungey running the ball.
Otherwise, Ravian Pierce (two touchdowns) looked like a serious red-zone threat and Nykeim Johnson (five receptions) should play a large role in the receiving game.
Overall, the defense looked improved but there is not much to take away from the offense since Dungey did not play.