5 things to watch for during Syracuse’s FanFest scrimmage

first_img Related Stories Shafer looks forward to practicing before Syracuse community at Saturday’s FanFest Syracuse will go “live” in an intra-squad scrimmage at FanFest at SU Soccer Stadium on Saturday, which will be the first opportunity for fans and media to see the team in action since the start of training camp. The first seven days of camp have — as far as open practice has gone — been filled with positional drills and the offense working against an invisible defense. Now the two units will square off. And while the depth chart is far from set with the rust still coming off, here are five things to look out for:1. Secondary depth Even though SU head coach Scott Shafer has called the team’s current depth chart “the depth chart that means nothing,” it still gives a reliable list at each position. At cornerback, returning starters Brandon Reddish and Julian Whigham are figured to hold onto their spots, and defensive backs coach Fred Reed said that junior Wayne Morgan will push both until the end of camp. But after those three, there is a significant drop in experience. Sophomore Corey Winfield made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback at the start of camp, and freshmen Cordell Hudson, Juwon Dowels and Antwan Cordy are also waiting in the wings. AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWith senior Joe Nassib sidelined for the foreseeable future with a separated shoulder, it will be interesting to see who the Orange turns to after Reddish, Whigham and Morgan. 2. Tight end touchesKendall Moore missed practice with a sprained ankle on Friday, but Shafer said that he should be “full-go” for the FanFest scrimmage. Terrel Hunt didn’t use any tight end often last season, and his most frequent tight end target, junior Josh Parris, is back for another season. But even Parris only had 13 catches for 90 yards last season with the now-graduated Beckett Wales behind him with 10 receptions. Saturday could show how the tight end spot fits into George McDonald’s fast-paced scheme. The unit has been working with first-year positional coach Bobby Acosta after not having a defined leader last season. 3. Marqez Hodge at middle linebackerBoth senior outside linebacker Cameron Lynch and linebackers coach Clark Lea have said that Hodge is transitioning well to middle linebacker. Lea did add that while the footwork and positioning have come naturally to Hodge, the sophomore has to work on communication and pass protection, among other things. With Lynch and senior Dyshawn Davis, both established seniors, on either side of him, Hodge will be granted the keys to the defense — a spot he’s been in just a handful of times with the Orange. 4. Freshmen threats Shafer has been raving about the newest crop of freshmen since the start of camp, and said Friday that we could see them at the end of the scrimmage. First-year running back Ervin Phillips has been a particular talking point for Shafer, who noted Friday that George Morris II and Devante McFarlane may be looking over their shoulders. He’s also mentioned Jamal Custis, Adley Enoicy and Steve Ishmael, all high-profile recruits who could push to see the field this season. Senior Jarrod West said on Wednesday that when the freshmen learn to play without thinking too much that it will be “scary.” The athleticism that has been discussed throughout camp could be on display toward the end of Saturday’s scrimmage.5. Running back playing timeWith Jerome Smith departing for the NFL and Prince-Tyson Gulley staying for a fifth season, it would seem that Gulley is the surefire feature back. But the Orange has a lot of options aside from its most seasoned one, and Saturday will be a first look at how it plans to balance them. After Gulley, senior power back Adonis Ameen-Moore has garnered praise from teammates and coaches, and Morris and McFarlane were both explosive in flashes last season. Phillips has been making waves too. Even with a peak into the offense, how McDonald and running backs coach DeAndre Smith plan to cycle through the backs won’t really be apparent until Syracuse’s opener against Villanova on August 29.  Comments Published on August 9, 2014 at 2:35 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jessecenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *