Orange Watch: A quick four months to the Syracuse football opener


Item: Syracuse football finishes spring ball, now it’s the “off-season” until August pre-season camp.

Actually, before camp officially gets underway, the ACC coaches this week will review their teams post spring ball in a conference call with the media, and the league has its annual pre-season “Football Kickoff” event July 21-22, traditionally a Sunday-Monday of golf on some of North Carolina’s nicer courses, big meals, meetings, and media sessions for all the head coaches and select players at the posh and hospitable Grandover Resort midway between Greensboro and High Point.

» Related: A look back at the Spring Game

Syracuse had its Spring Game on Saturday

As Scott Shafer continues to mold the program in his first head coaching position, there’s several similarities to the last time a new coach took over.  Like Doug Marrone versus Minnesota in 2009, Shafer will have a chance to watch a likely quarterback battle for the starting job before opening up in his first game also against a Big Ten opponent.

All eyes will be on the purported QB duel between junior Terrel Hunt and incoming Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen who has a year of eligibility.  It’s a nice problem to have in choosing a starter to face such a strong opponent as Penn State out of the gate on the big stage of MetLife Stadium, as opposed to hosting Wagner in the Dome.

Unlike Marrone, Shafer has a lot more talent and speed to work with on both sides of the ball, and his two new coordinators have begun to install their personal schemes, differentiating themselves from the previous regime.

» Related: Syracuse has plenty of options in the backfield

The running game, a ‘Cuse staple no matter who’s manning the sideline, figures to pick up where it left off from its bowl game dominance, and new coordinator George McDonald brings a lot of positive energy and out-of-the box thinking to his role, while the defense has had players flying all over the field in spring workouts and scrimmages under new boss Chuck Bullough.

“Orangenation Rising” is the 2013 Syracuse football mantra, “a state of mind where passion, tradition and die-hard loyalty intersect.”  There’s a lot to like about the direction of the program, and the new era will be here before you know it.

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About Brad Bierman 843 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.