Football

Observations from Syracuse’s penultimate practice of training camp

Zian Jones’ gaffe burned Scott Shafer’s fuse to its end.

Syracuse was working on last-second field goals, the “mayday” drill, as Shafer called it, and the kicking team had already botched the first two attempts.

So when the senior nose tackle jumped offsides later in the drill, Shafer stepped in front of and dug into him.

“You’re letting the whole team down,” he said.

Then Shafer moved down the line. “He just let you down, he just let you down, he just let you down,” he said, pointing at each defensive lineman surrounding the 6-foot-4, 311-pound Jones. Shafer made the entire defensive front do 10 up-downs, standing in front of Jones as the players counted aloud.

The repeated blunders were exactly what Shafer did not want to see from a specific mock situation. The drill was meant to prepare both the kicking team and the field-goal defense for having to rush out onto the field at the end of a half or game with the clock winding down, and execute.

But neither the offense or defense was up to Shafer’s standards. The kicking team failed to get an attempt off on the first try. Then sophomore Ryan Norton pushed a 30-yarder wide left.

However, it was only the first, if not one of the first such specific situations the Orange has practiced this summer, as Shafer said Monday that introducing mock plays would be a new element this week.

Kirkland, Wales practice on Tuesday

Linebacker Josh Kirkland, who had missed more than a week of practice, was back in pads Tuesday and participating in drills. Wide receivers Corey Winfield and Franklin Santos, and defensive back Josh Mims all were back in full pads, as well. Santos was absent from Monday’s practice altogether.

Beckett Wales also appears to be nearing 100 percent. The tight end was limited during Syracuse’s scrimmage on Thursday in Fort Drum, N.Y., and had bags of ice wrapped around his calves. On Monday, his left calf was wrapped, but by Tuesday the padding was off.

Absent from practice once again was Ross Krautman. The kicker also missed the Orange’s scrimmage Thursday with a slight groin strain and hasn’t been at either of SU’s practices this week. Defensive end Tyler Marona and defensive back Joe Stanard were also absent again, while offensive lineman Kyle Knapp was at practice, but not in pads.

Davis topples Perles

Chuck Bullough warned quarterbacking offensive line coach Pat Perles to watch out for his linebackers.

“You better start running Perl-dog, you better run for your life,” the defensive coordinator said after outside linebackers Dyshawn Davis and Cameron Lynch swooped around the ends and tagged him quickly.

On the next play, Lynch and middle linebacker Marquis Spruill broke through on a twist stunt past tackle Sean Hickey, and the play after that Bullough’s warning proved true.

Davis fired into the backfield from the left side again. But this time he was running so fast that when he tried to slow down in front of Perles, he slipped up and took out the coaches’ legs.

Perles stood up smiling and tossed the football back at Davis behind his back.

Other coaches heated at practice

Perles was furious.

He tried to get his line to do two drills correctly Tuesday morning, but nothing his players did made him happy.

Guard Rob Trudo stopped throttling forward before Perles deemed the drill over and Perles yelled at him. The intensity wasn’t there. Perhaps it was the 9 a.m. start. Perles wasn’t having it.

“The play ain’t over until the ref tells you it’s over,” he shouted.

It continued. The next gripe Perles had was that his players weren’t bending their knees. Then they weren’t spinning with enough precision during the second drill.

“That’s bullsh*t,” he yelled, throwing his hat and shaking his head.

He made his entre line do up-downs.

Right as the media was forced to leave practice, Perles hung one final zinger his line’s way.

“F*ck you guys!” he shouted.

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