Football

Syracuse looking for creative ways to get running backs touches

Scott Shafer’s always liked running backs to return kicks, but this year there’s a bit of an extra reason for his choices.

Prince-Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith, who are both listed as the starting running back, will get their carries — they’re perhaps Syracuse’s two best offensive players. But George Morris II and Devante McFarlane have tremendous upside, too. The Orange needs to find a way to get the ball in their hands. Putting them back on kickoffs is a way to do that.

“I think we have a good plan both in the kicking game as well as the offensive side of the game plan to try to immerse the kids in the different situations that we can plug them into,” Shafer said. “It’s a good problem to have, but we’re creatively trying ways to get them on the field.”

H-back Ashton Broyld is another running back that SU is looking to get on the field in creative ways. He frequently lined up in the slot during training camp and has primarily worked with the wide receivers, but Shafer hasn’t ruled out some Wildcat-type packages.

Broyld came to Syracuse as a quarterback. With an unsettled position it seems to be a good time to put the talented Broyld on the field without losing an established quarterback, which is what would’ve happened in Wildcat packages a year ago.

“Ashton has a lot of abilities and can play a lot of positions and he’s had a real good summer camp,” Shafer said. “I think he’s getting a good feel for the game going into his second season and the biggest thing is just putting him in position where he can make plays that he’s confident running.”

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