4 Observations From Syracuse Football’s April 2 Practice

4 Observations From Syracuse Football’s April 2 Practice
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Syracuse Football wrapped up its sixth practice under new coach Fran Brown on a gloomy April morning.

It is the start of a longer week for the Orange as they have another practice Thursday and an intra-squad scrimmage coming this Saturday.

Here are some observations from today’s practice and media availability.

McCord Has Interesting Weapons

Losing the team’s leading receiver, Damien Alford, following the conclusion of the season was a tough loss, but Fran Brown quickly filled that void with transfers from Georgia, Zeed Hayes and Jackson Meeks.

Hayes has the makings of a very interesting slot receiver, and Meeks can be a significant physical vertical threat (6’2” 205lbs).

Hayes has a quick first step, which will let him explode off the scrimmage line.

Adding these guys in tandem with Donovan Brown and Oronde Gadsden certainly gives the team many intriguing options.

Donovan Brown made some nice plays in the 1-on-1 portion of practice, which gives more hope as he improves upon last season.

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Defensive DNA

McCord’s addition has certainly grabbed attention as a high-profile acquisition, given his talent as a quarterback and his pedigree from OSU.

But the most substantial improvements this offseason have occurred on the defensive side of the team.

With Brown’s coaching history, Syracuse will now place significant emphasis on defensive strength, not just in the secondary but also among the edge rushers and linebackers.

It certainly felt that way at practice. A lot of attention was spent on what the defense did, especially during the 1-on-1 drills and the full team drives.

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Fran Brown is the Nucleus

It has been talked about in the Syracuse fan sphere ad nauseam since he arrived: Fran Brown is a program-altering coach.

While all this is true, what I see mentioned less often, if at all, is that he has not made the team his. There are plenty of teams in the ACC and SEC, especially, that make a program theirs instead of the school; the program is the coach.

While Fran Brown has his fingerprints all over the team, he isn’t making it all about him. He does not want to succeed for himself; he wants to succeed for his coaches, his players, the fans, and the school.

Instead of promoting some personal brand, he is promoting the entire Syracuse community. Brown mentioned that his biggest challenge at the start of his tenure is “just making sure I can deliver for my players.”

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