Football

Syracuse starts practice slowly, then picks up intensity

Maybe it was the early morning. Maybe it was because of Fanfest the day before. Or maybe it was because it was the first two-a-day, but Syracuse came onto the practice field Saturday looking sluggish.

 

Just a few minutes into Saturday’s 9 a.m. practice, head coach Scott Shafer had seen enough. The players headed off the field … only to charge back on moments later, quarterback Drew Allen leading the pack, to restart practice on a better note.

 

“Everybody I guess groggy or whatever,” linebacker Marquis Spruill said. “But it didn’t meet Shafe’s expectation, so he brought us out, talked to us and he got our mind right.”

 

With training camp now almost a full week old, Syracuse held its first two-a-day practice on Saturday, opening with a practice at 9 a.m. to be followed by one Saturday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.

 

After the slow start the practice was lively. Both kickers, Ryan Norton and Ross Krautman, regularly drilled field goals from 45 yards out. The quarterbacks looked sharp in their individual drills. The defense worked on a variety of blitzes, rotating in an array of combinations in the secondary.

 

Other than the handful of minutes to start practice, the addition of full pads has livened up practice.

 

“It definitely gives everybody a little bit of an edge,” Spruill said.

 

Quarterbacks coach Tim Lester said that with full pads he can start to learn more about the players he has competing at the position, and the same holds true all over the field.

 

Running back Jerome Smith looked at the signal caller battle as just another competition.

 

“Every position is having a competition,” he said.

 

With some extra padding and more practice time some questions will start to be answered, and that will start with a better practice Saturday afternoon.

 

“The rest of practice was great,” Spruill said. “Now we’ve got this rest period, rest up, take a nap and have a better practice in the second half.”

 

 

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