Each week over the summer, The Juice Online is going to highlight individual players on the 2016 Syracuse football team. This week, we’re profiling wide receiver Steve Ishmael.
Steve Ishmael smiled when asked about Syracuse’s new up-tempo offense.
“It makes football a lot more fun,” Ishmael said during spring practice.”With this offense, scoring, winning games, scoring touchdowns, all of that’s fun.”
Well, the winning hasn’t come yet, but at the very least, there has been a noticeable difference in the way Dino Babers and the new coaching staff has approached practices.
“He preaches that he wants us to have fun,” Ishmael said. “He wants to bring the fun back in football.”
But in order to get to that point, Babers has made several changes.
For starters, he has removed sugary drinks from the vending machines in the practice facilities. Instead, players are encouraged to carry around large jugs of water.
“Coach Babers, he preaches, ‘You guys better hydrate,'” Ishmael said. “Once we drink water, we’ll be good.”
Of course, the main change has been the offensive philosophy, which is unlike anything Syracuse has had before. In the past, the Orange offense was predicated on a ball-controlling run game.
Not any more.
“Fast. Fast. Fast. Fast,” Ishmael said when asked to describe the new pace. “This offense, it’s like a game. We got so many options. Everyone pops open. You read the defense. It’s just really cool.”
“It’s going to get a lot faster. Just adjusting to this type of speed, we’re going to start moving faster.”
Inside slant: Ishmael is a 2016 Athlon Preseason All-ACC Fourth Team selection and enters 2016 with a streak of 12 straight games with a catch. As SU’s top wide receiver, he has the potential to rack up some impressive statistics this season.
- Birthdate: July 1995
- Hometown: Miami, FL
- High School: North Miami Beach
- Position: Wide Receiver
- Class: Junior
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 210 lbs
Career highlights: As a sophomore, Ishmael started all 12 games and led Syracuse in several statistical categories, including receptions (39), receiving yards (570), and touchdowns (7).
Jim Stechschulte and Kicia Sears contributed to this report.