Syracuse plans to spread carries throughout deep running back unit

Syracuse plans to spread carries throughout deep running back unit

first_img Published on August 25, 2014 at 2:00 am Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbb Facebook Twitter Google+ Even without Jerome Smith, Syracuse still feels confident about its depth at the running back position.Smith, the Orange’s leading rusher in the past two seasons, left one last year of eligibility at SU on the table to pursue an NFL career, but expects his former team to move on seamlessly.“They sound like they’ve got a five-headed monster with Ervin (Philips) stepping into the play,” Smith said. “I’m excited to watch them.”Highlighted by team captain Prince-Tyson Gulley, the group says it boasts the versatility to do its part in the Orange’s newly installed fast-paced offense. Gulley’s four-year wait to become Syracuse’s feature back is over, and senior Adonis Ameen-Moore has the edge among the reserves on the preseason depth chart.But George Morris II, Devante McFarlane and the freshman Philips all will likely get their shots on the field throughout the year as the Orange offense looks to move at an unprecedented speed.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe quickened pace, running backs coach DeAndre Smith said, should translate to a greater split of carries among his tailbacks, instead of subbing less frequently.“All of them can do it. I just want them fresh, so we can go as fast as we can,” DeAndre Smith said. “The faster we play, the more plays we’re going to have, the more reps everybody gets and then it works out for everybody in the end.”Gulley, listed at 5 feet, 8 inches, is the quickest of the tailbacks, and SU’s spread-out passing attack could create some openings in the middle of the field for the captain to shoot through.DeAndre Smith also expects the senior to be a factor in Syracuse’s passing game, swinging out of the backfield toward the flats or running a route through the line and plopping in the middle of the field.Pass-catching has also been an area of improvement for Ameen-Moore, who was almost exclusively a goal-line back in the “Tank package” in 2012.But DeAndre Smith said that those days are long gone.“We’re just going to run our offense. Those guys don’t like when I limit them to certain things, so I just let them do it,” the running backs coach said. “I’m really excited about (Ameen-Moore) just to see because I don’t know what he can do in game situations.”Morris could emerge as the most versatile of the reserves. Smith noted his pass-protection skills as a reason Morris would be fit for third-down situations, but said he’s a strong enough rusher to earn more snaps than that.His roommate, McFarlane, is pegged as the fourth back on the preseason depth chart but both are looking over their shoulder at Philips, as Scott Shafer put it.A three-star prospect from Connecticut, the 5-foot-11 back drew praise from Shafer throughout training camp.“I love the guy,” said Gulley, who roomed with Philips at Fort Drum. “I just try to mentor him and make sure he doesn’t do the things I was doing so he can have a better career here. I think he’s going to be something big for this program.”As of Fort Drum, Philips said redshirting had not been a topic of discussion between him and the coaches. Smith said he could be used on the Orange’s special teams lines.Put it all together, and even without Jerome Smith, Syracuse again has a running backs corps it feels optimistic about.“I got a bunch of guys I can throw out there. They kind of started camp off hard for me to make a decision, and they’ve made it really, really hard,” DeAndre Smith said with a laugh, “which I like … They’ll get a chance to go out there and help and I think that’s all they care about.” Commentslast_img

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