BRONX, N.Y. — Syracuse huddled before its practice Wednesday morning and listened to Coach Doug Marrone go over some things on the schedule and on his mind. He then yielded to this coach, who was talking and had the guys laughing before he took off his pants.
I did not get a picture of that. I was snapping away at the huddle in search of some lead art and was lucky I captured this, which was the beginning of the act. You’re just not expecting someone to shed his pants.
The man was wearing shorts and the team broke the huddle right after this, so the point was that while it was cold, everyone had a job to do and a duty to push through the conditions.
That said, it was not so cold that maniac/quarterback Ryan Nassib needed long sleeves for his arms or sweat pants for his legs.
There were some other brave Syracuse players who were without sleeves or sweat pants, but the team’s center, holder and kicker had one or the other. Nassib needed neither. Leader!
- We only spoke to a few Orange players today, though we get some more and better names this evening.
A few were asked about the matchup with WVU and tight end David Stevens said players “did feel like something was missing on the schedule with West Virginia not on the schedule. This kind of completes the schedule that we get to play West Virginia this year.”
Not everyone felt the same. Cornerback Keon Lyn, who played for Miramar High and was a year behind Geno and Stedman, said, “We don’t really consider it a rivalry. They probably do because we beat them in the last two years, so it’s probably important for them to get the win. It’s important for us to keep winning against them.”
- In the Nassib picture, you see a lot of red jerseys in the background. There were many of those, as well as players in green jerseys, at practice at Columbia University. If that were WVU’s practice, it would have meant a lot of injured players — red is out of practice, green is limited participation.
Syracuse puts its offensive players in green and its defensive players in red, which gave us a very Christmasy feel on the morning after.
That said, the Orange are not without some personnel issues. Linebacker Marquis Spruill will sit out for what Marron determined an indeterminate “significant portion” of the bowl after his arrest last month. Spruill is a three-year starter who is fourth on the team with 62 tackles.
Running back Adonis Ameen-Moore and tight end Max Beaulieu have also been suspended for a violation of team rules. Beaulieu played just one game this season, but Ameen-Moore was a part of a specific short-yardage package. In six games, he carried 30 times for 108 yards and five touchdowns.
- Syracuse’s dig at Columbia, by the way, were very modest. It’s a 17,000-seat stadium with artificial turf, but there’s just one field. There is no practice field. The stretching and individual drills we got to see were very cramped.
The kickers and punters worked off to the side on the baseball field — and, obviously, it was more punting than kicking.
Not sure what awaits WVU at Fordham, but teams like to have at least two fields to work with so the offense and defense can work on their own and with the opposite scout teams.
- Finally, there’s some weather — actually, a “monster storm” — coming here tonight and it’s absolutely going to affect preparations tomorrow. If it does, Hofstra has an indoor facility for both teams to use.
Syracuse can practice in the morning and WVU can practice in the afternoon with no conflict.