Spring Practice Session No. 9: Syracuse Orange Turning Up the Intensity

Dan KelleyCorrespondent IApril 7, 2010

STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 12: Quarterback Ryan Nassib #12 of the Syracuse Orangemen talks to running back Antwon Bailey #29 during the first half against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium  September 12, 2009 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

At this time, the essayist Dan Kelley has broken down completely. 

With the conclusion of the academic year drawing closer every day, and sleepless nights becoming the norm, the exhaustion finally seems to have caught up with Mr. Kelley. Prior to his loss of consciousness, however, he attended the 9th session of the Syracuse University football team's spring practice; and he expressed his desire to have his observations published in a timely manner, just moments before he passed out.

Therefore, with Mr. Kelley unavailable, we've been forced to borrow a tactic once used by the good Doctor of Journalism, Raoul Duke, and seek out the original notebook used by Mr. Kelley to record his thoughts. What follows are his observations (with the occasional editor's note), transcribed verbatim.


Doug Hogue tipped a pass early and then intercepted another tipped pass the next play. He's tall and looks quicker this year. Looks like he'll intercept some passes this season.


Corners look pretty sure handed in drills. Scott Shafer [the defensive coordinator] just accidentally drilled Rishard Anderson in the head with a pass. The defensive backs are standing in a line, he's passing to a cornerback running behind them.

Now they're doing a drill to practice catching passes one-handed. The defensive's emphasis is pretty clear—attack and force turnovers.

Derrell Smith looks like he just hurt his hand knocking down a pass...he's staying on the field though. He's still talking some trash, he'll be on the all-Big East trash talking team.

Number 81 [Cody Morgan] just made a nice catch over the middle. Derrell Smith popped him. Charley Loeb is pretty excited he held onto the ball. Note: Don't quote him, I don't think Bleacher Report would appreciate me publishing that sort of language.

Another high snap on the first play of 11-on-11. Very next play, Phillip Thomas makes a nice interception, jumping in front of a receiver on a short pass from Nassib. 

Now the D-line tipped Nassib's pass, it floated up and [running back] Antwon Bailey caught it, but went nowhere. Rough start for the offense, offensive line doesn't look good right now. 

Lots of pushing and shoving. Things are getting intense.

Marquis Spruill just dropped an interception from Loeb. He might push for playing time, even as a freshman, at that third linebacker spot next to Smith and Hogue. 

Neither quarterback can complete anything deep right now. Defense is getting serious pressure.

[Wide receiver] Aaron Weaver just lowered his shoulder and really popped [Safety] Shamarko Thomas after making a nice catch. Defense doesn't like that, even more pushing and shoving. Weaver is the new guy, defense seems to like giving him a hard time.

Averin Collier just had a nice run through the middle and then cutting to the outside. And then the next few runs all got blown up in the backfield. 

Delone Carter just made a great run. The first offense moves the ball on the ground much better than the 2nd team. The blocking is much better.

Wow—Collier just ran right through Dorian Graham out in the open field, lowering his shoulder and then pushing him forward for an extra 5-10 yards. 

Charley Loeb just had a great bootleg run. The fake handoff fooled everybody. 

This defense really takes after Scott Shafer—tough, intense and...profane.

Collier looks dinged up. Down on one knee with some trainers. 

[Fullback] Adam Harris looks like a decent, short yardage receiving option.

Charley Loeb is really overthrowing a lot of passes. The struggles continue...

They're practicing their goal line offense now:
  • Delone Carter through the middle—Touchdown
  • Delone Carter nice run to the left—Touchdown
  • Ryan Nassib sacked
  • Averin Collier tackled in the backfield
  • Charley Loeb to Nick Provo—Touchdown
  • Averin Collier goal line fumble?
I don't know if that last play was a fumble or a touchdown, but the defense reacted exactly as you'd expect in a real game. Every one of them was pointing to the opposite end of the field to signal they recovered it. 

They just moved it to the 20-yard line, heading towards the end zone 80 yards away.

Carter just had a very nice run, side stepping a couple tacklers. He looks quicker and more agile this season. 

[Tight end] Jose Cruz is having a nice day. A few catches, haven't noticed any drops today. 

They just went to the hurry-up offense, no huddle. Nassib is efficiently moving the ball down the field. Defense not really faring well, both quarterbacks are having success.

That's where the notes end, presumably meaning that nothing else of interest occurred in between his last scribble and the conclusion of practice.
We ask that this essay not be judged too harshly by the critics, as the supremely articulate and ever-professional Mr. Kelley was unable to complete the task himself. We also suggest that if you'd like to read more thoughts on Syracuse athletics, you should follow Mr. Kelley on twitter.