It wouldn’t be Syracuse Orange football without the occasional injury report.
6th-year Offensive Linesman Chris Bleich has been in and out of spring practice recently, and frankly, it seems like a strange case of mishandling an injury situation.
Bleich was a scratch from last Tuesday (March 28) after wearing a larger-than-normal knee brace the week prior. However, he returned to full-contact drills on Thursday, taking part in 1-on-1 matchups with members of the D-Line. From what I could tell, he wasn’t wearing anything different than the rest of the O-Line, nor was he limited in any facet that reporters could see.
So it was a bit of a shock when he appeared yesterday with both of his knees wrapped, observing and speaking to his teammates but not participating in any contact drills.
I asked Head Coach Dino Babers if Bleich was doing alright, and this was his response:
“He better be. We need to get him back out there. There’s some guys on the side who need to be on the football field, he’s one of them. He’s gonna be one of our better players.”
That pretty heavily implies that there is an issue, and Dino sounded a little aggravated that it was even brought up.
Bleich started 12 games at Right Guard last season, missing only the trip to Wake Forest. Barring a long-term injury, he will be the starter at that position again this year, looking to lead a group of blockers that struggled to establish the run in 2022. The unit has not looked good even with him on the field this spring, but it was much worse when Wes Hoeh took his spot last Tuesday.
Bleich has a long injury history dating back to his time at Florida. We can only hope that it isn’t making another unwelcomed appearance here in 2023.