3 observations from the Syracuse football spring game

first_imgIn two hours, Syracuse ran 155 plays and showed a bit of new SU head coach Dino Babers’ offense. In last year’s spring game, the offense scored just one touchdown – a 36-yard throw from quarterback Austin Wilson to receiver Adly Enoicy — but on Saturday afternoon, SU’s offense scored 13 touchdowns.Here are a few observations from the Orange’s spring game.Not quite his tempoWithin a couple seconds of each play on Saturday, Syracuse set up for another. Babers came in with an offense that was hyped for its fast pace — at Bowling Green, Babers’ squad averaged 83.7 plays per game last season, good for seventh in the country — and it appeared that the Orange had put that on display on Saturday.On the first few drives, the offense drove quickly and dominated Syracuse’s defense. Eric Dungey threw a touchdown to receiver Brisly Estime and Zack Mahoney threw a touchdown to receiver Jamal Custis.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut after the game Babers and Dungey said the offense didn’t run fast enough.“I thought the tempo of the offense was OK,” Babers said. “We’ll never be that slow again.”Strictly speakingOn the first drive of the game on Saturday, Syracuse running back Dontae Strickland came out with the first team. The former hybrid in Tim Lester’s offense last year ran for 84 yards on 12 attempts and scored one touchdown.“He’ll make plays, very smart individual,” Babers said, “I think he’s going to be a heck of a football player for us in some combination with somebody else back there.”A few of Strickland’s runs included him breaking multiple tackles. Though he only scored once, he was one of the most impressive offensive players. He displaced running back Jordan Fredericks as the starter for the spring game, while Fredericks came on after Strickland and freshman Moe Neal.“You can’t win a job in spring ball,” Babers said. “… There’s a lot of contact in spring ball that you don’t do to teach that you will do in two-a-days to get ready for a season. And I think with the physical contact work we have coming up will be the deciding factor for the first- and second-team guy.”Last season, Fredericks rushed 107 times for 607 yards to lead Syracuse. Strickland had just 21 carries all of last season for 81 yards. Fredericks carried the ball the least of the four running backs with just nine carries for 33 yards. Neal rushed for 76 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries and George Morris, who came in last of each of the running backs, rushed for 99 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries.“It didn’t bother me (that I didn’t get the start),” Fredericks said, “We all played, we’re all fighting for the spot.”Lucky SevenDungey said after the spring game that he’s had to adjust through spring practices. Even after the offense scored 13 touchdowns, he said it didn’t move fast enough.“Every year in high school, I had a new coach, new offense,” Dungey said. “Last year, new coach, new offense. This year, new coach, new offense.”But on Sunday, Dungey looked crisp.One year after Wilson threw the only touchdown of the spring game, Dungey threw seven. He completed 27-of-33 passes for 296 yards. Quarterbacks Zack Mahoney, Wilson and Rex Culpepper all threw one apiece.It took a little while in the scrimmage for Dungey to find his deep ball. He completed mostly short and intermediate passes in the early going. Dungey unfurled one of his first deep throws to former hybrid Ervin Philips, who looked like he was going to get behind safety Antwan Cordy. Instead, Cordy boxed Phillips out and made an over-the-shoulder catch while diving to the ground.Dungey threw his next deep ball to Alvin Cornelius, but it was underthrown and broken up by a defensive back. Finally, Dungey lofted a 34-yard pass right in Cornelius’ arms and the receiver scored. The rising sophomore said he had been trying to improve his deep ball during spring practice. Facebook Twitter Google+ Commentscenter_img Published on April 2, 2016 at 3:47 pm Contact Chris: cjlibona@syr.edu | @ChrisLibonatilast_img

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