Syracuse strong safety Shamarko Thomas and the rest of his Orange teammates are in for a unique training camp.
On Aug. 12, the football team will head to Fort Drum for a week where they will work with the 10th Mountain Division. The Orange will holding meetings in an Army Battalion Headquarters, eat in an Army Dining Facility and sleep in actual Soldier barracks, according to a release from the athletics department.
“It’s exciting but I’m kinda nervous because I’ve never been on a military base,” Thomas said to The Juice Online’s Brad Bierman during Big East Media Day on Tuesday. “My dad was in the military but I never been through all the stuff they’ve been through. I heard we’re going to be some of the stuff they do that I’m not used to.”
At the end of the week, the Orange will play a scrimmage in front of the 10th Mountain Division Soldiers and their Families on Saturday, August 18.
“My brother is in the military,” tackle Justin Pugh said. “I told him I’m going to an army base, too. We’re both going to be living in the barracks, and eating in the mess hall. It’s a unique thing to see what they’re going through.”
Fort Drum features 30 range facilities, 17 major training areas, two active drop zones on nearly 107,000 acres of land, for a population of just more than 19,000 active military personnel, according to the release.
“They’re the real heroes,” Pugh said. “They let us do what we do, and let us play the sport we love.”
Said Syracuse coach Doug Marrone: “I’m bringing my football team up there to get better. To get tougher, to work harder, all the things that anybody on the outside would notice. I think it’s beneficial to get our football team to spend some time together in a different environment.”