While we’re not on the scene for Syracuse Orange football camp, we can still make some observations from the clips and observations of those in attendance.
The big news from the first practice was Chris Bleich sliding into the center spot and forming an offensive line group with Dakota Davis and Kalan Ellis at the guards and Matthew Bergeron and Carlos Vettorello at the tackle positions. We know Steve will be watching closely to see if this continues throughout camp but it’s looking like Dino Babers and Mike Schmidt aren’t afraid to shuffle the players to find the best group.
Syracuse also showed a new offensive wrinkle during goal-line work when the receiver group was comprised of bigger players like Isaiah Jones (more on him in a bit), Oronde Gadsen II and Devaughn Cooper. This could mean Robert Anae wants to have bigger wideouts in the red zone or it’s just some mind games being played during the media period. Adding bigger receivers could force defenses to put their safeties wide to help on the outside, leaving their linebackers 1 on 1 against Sean Tucker in space...and we like that. You might even say we’re very #pl34sed.
If the Orange offense can become more proficient at turning red zone trips into touchdowns, that could make the difference between bowl preparation and new staff preparation. Having positional depth which allows for the utilization of situational groupings can help Syracuse keep defenders from predicting where the ball will go. Last year it seemed like anything inside the 10 was just going to be a Shrader keeper so we’ll keep an eye on this moving towards the opener.
While reporters are not allowed to comment on who is participating during these open periods, we did learn that Isaiah Jones went down with an injury. Dino Babers didn’t provide any updates but we heard that Jones had been impressing the new coaches so hopefully he gets back on the field soon. Injuries have been killer for Syracuse in recent years so let’s hope this isn’t going to continue.
It wasn’t shocking to see Carlos Del Rio-Wilson handle second-team opportunities right away. I don’t think Syracuse has a quarterback battle just yet, but the Orange didn’t take the Florida transfer to stick him on the 4th string. They are going to put him against the top defense and see if he’s going to push for playing time this Fall. Dan Villari and JaCobian Morgan are going to need to make the most of their reps during camp if they want to grab that QB2 spot.
Other spots of interest are on the defensive line where Jatius Geer, Chase Simmons and Dennis Jacquez Jr. seem to be pushing for time. We’ve discussed Steve Linton’s weight (217) being light for a defensive end so could one of the others push for a spot on running downs with Linton slotting into a pass-rusher role?
Observations of observations which you can now make your own observations about....it’s like observationception!