SYRACUSE - There wasn't any offensive fireworks at the Syracuse football program's Spring Game Saturday, as two defensive scores was the difference in a 9-0 victory for Team Anselmo over Team Moore. Starting quarterback Ryan Nassib completed 11 of his 18 pass attempts for 163 yards for the winning team, which was led by assistant head coach John Anselmo.
Junior defensive tackle Jay Bromley finished the game with three tackles, all for losses, two of them being sacks that each led to scores for the defense. The first sack came in the first quarter that helped his team take a 2-0 lead, while the second forced a fumble, which was scooped up by defensive end Brandon Sharpe who returned it for a touchdown.
After that, however, there was very little excitement as only a few long passes and a nice catch-and-run from freshman Ashton Broyld got the small crowd of less than 3,000 cheering. But despite the lack of offensive plays, head coach Doug Marrone was pleased with his team's effort of the last 13 days.
"We had 13 outstanding days of Spring practice," said Marrone, who closed all but one practice to the media and fans.
In the end, there were a few takeaways from the exhibition:
- Nassib was by far the best quarterback on the field, which is both good and bad for Syracuse. It's good in the sense that Nassib is "the guy" and will be "the leader", however, if anything were to happen to him, the Orange offense will be in trouble.
- Freshmen quarterback/running back/wide receiver Broyld saw some action at all possessions and had a few big plays, the most impressive being a 44-yard reception that featured him catching and quick slant, eluding a few defender before being caught from behind.
- The player, at least to me, that stood out the most was sophomore defensive back Brandon Reddish, who was filling in for the injured Keon Lyn. Reddish had a total of three pass break-ups and nearly collected a few interceptions. In the post-game, defensive players Bromley, Sharpe and Dyshawn Davis, expressed that Reddish was a big bright spot in Spring practice and coach Marrone backed-up those feelings in his post-game presser. If Syracuse is looking for someone to replace saftey Phillip Thomas, Reddish could
- Prince-Tyson Gulley looked good despite rushing for just 18 yards on seven attempts. Gulley, who's listed at 5-foot-9, 181 pounds, seems to have good size (same height has last year's running back Antwon Bailey but with a bit more poundage) that is complimented by some speed. However, it seems the issue for Gulley during Spring ball is the amount of drops which coach Marrone hasn't liked.
- Meanwhile, junior tailback Jerome Smith (5-11, 213) rushed for 14 yards on five carries, but coach Marrone said Smith was one of a handful of players that stood out during Spring practice.
All-in-all, the 2012 Spring game wasn't a pretty one, as there were a lot of yellow flags on the field because of dumb penalties, no offensive touchdowns (last year, there was just ONE offensive score in a 13-7 contest) and two missed, chip-shot field goals.
Coach Marrone and his staff can sugar coat a lot of things, but there will need to be a lot of improvement over the off season if this team wants to make its second postseason trip in three seasons.