Football

Running backs shine in first practice with pads

Syracuse running back Devante McFarlane elicited the most raucous cheer of the day from the fans Friday.

After taking a handoff from quarterback Terrel Hunt, McFarlane found a seam in the defense and ran more than 60 yards downfield for a touchdown. His teammates mobbed him, and McFarlane ran back downfield with pep in his step, holding onto the ball.

The scary thing is, McFarlane is Syracuse’s fourth-string running back. Jerome Smith, Prince-Tyson Gulley and George Morris II comprise one of the scariest trios in the Atlantic Coast Conference. SU’s running backs, fullbacks and H-backs were on their game Friday afternoon, making the most of their first day in pads as the Orange held an open practice in front of nearly 2,500 fans at Manley Field House.

“I thought the offense did a good job making some plays,” Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer said. “Running backs did some good things.”

They sure did. Fullback Adonis Ameen-Moore bulldozed his way for a couple of significant gains. Gulley’s shiftiness proved problematic for Syracuse’s defense. Smith and Morris powered their way forward effectively.

Despite the rigors of a week of practicing each of the last five days, the running backs showed up to play. The unit’s lone miscue was a fumble by Steve Rene, but he responded by making a nice tackle.

Shafer said he’s proud of his team for battling through the week and remaining enthusiastic and focused.

Said Shafer: “We’ve had a good hard week.”

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