FB : 5 things to look for at Syracuse’s Spring Game

first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 18, 2012 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Sales returns to the Carrier Dome turfAfter a brilliant three-touchdown, 172-yard performance in the 2010 Pinstripe Bowl, Marcus Sales was supposed to be Syracuse’s top receiver in 2011. But Sales missed the entire season after he was suspended indefinitely following his arrest in July on felony drug charges. The charges were dropped in October, and Sales was reinstated to the program for spring practice. SU returns its leading receiver from a year ago in Alec Lemon, but must replace Nick Provo, Van Chew and Dorian Graham as threats in the passing game.Changes in play-callingAt Syracuse’s lone open spring practice in Rochester on April 7, Doug Marrone said the team plans to utilize the quarterback position in its rushing attack this season. Ryan Nassib took all but three snaps under center for the Orange in 2011, but rarely displayed an ability to make plays with his feet. He finished the season with just 39 yards rushing on 65 attempts. Charley Loeb, John Kinder and Ashton Broyld all played at quarterback in Rochester, with the dual-threat freshman Broyld also taking reps at running back. Broyld, the 2010 New York State Class AA player of the year, spent last season at Milford Academy, where he threw for 427 yards and six touchdowns to go with 259 yards and six scores on the ground.Smith and Gulley take over in the backfieldAdvertisementThis is placeholder textAntwon Bailey replaced Delone Carter as the starting running back last season and turned in a solid campaign, rushing for 1,051 yards on 240 carries. This season, Syracuse must fill the starting spot again. Prince-Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith combined for 55 carries in 2011 behind Bailey. Gulley had a promising start to the season, rushing for 89 yards in four games before seeing his season cut short after suffering a broken collarbone. Smith played in all 12 games, giving Bailey a breather throughout the season. His most impressive performance came in the regular-season finale against Pittsburgh when he broke through for 56 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.The performance of the secondaryThe Syracuse secondary was exposed by elite wide receivers Chris Givens, Robert Woods and Eric Page early last year. The Orange has to replace its top playmaker from that unit in Phillip Thomas. The safety led the team with 82 tackles and six interceptions before he was suspended and ultimately left the program. SU also lost Kevyn Scott to graduation. Scott played in all 12 games and registered four pass breakups and two interceptions. Shamarko Thomas will serve as the veteran of the unit this year, but young players like Durell Eskridge and Shu Mungwa could shine in the Spring Game.The growth of the defensive lineDefensive ends Chandler Jones and Mikhail Marinovich formed a formidable pass rush last season. Marinovich finished with two sacks and three tackles for loss in 11 games his senior year. Jones decided to give up his final year of eligibility to enter the NFL Draft, and he is currently projected to go in the first round later this month. Deon Goggins returns on the line and will play both defensive end and defensive tackle. The 6-foot-1, 272-pound lineman started all 12 games last season at tackle. He made 7.5 tackles for loss and recorded 1.5 sacks, emerging as a force at times for Syracuse. Jay Bromley will provide experience alongside Goggins at tackle, where he also played in every game. Bromley finished with 5.5 stops for loss to go with 1.5 sacks.-Compiled by Ryne Gery, asst. sports editor, [email protected]last_img

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