2012 Syracuse Orange Football team meets the media

On a 97 degree day in Syracuse, it was behind hot in Manley Field House, where the former basketball arena now is home to an indoor football practice facility. It was so hot that it prompted Syracuse Head Coach Doug Marrone to joke and say that it was to prepare his team for the heat.

But after a 5-game losing streak to end the 2011 season and a brutal schedule ahead in 2012 some say that the heat is on the Orange this year.

If it is, the team isn't focusing on it.

As media commenced and players filtered into Manley, one by one peppered with questions from the local media every player was focused on one thing: practice on Monday.

"We're looking at today. What we're going to do now, and we need to be a better football team on a daily basis and be more consistent" said Marrone.

Marrone added "A lot of people say, okay, here we go we're starting today. We haven't started today. We started this in January, I started right after the last game. We're transitioning back in as coaches...transitioning back into football activities to become a better football team".

Some of those football activities are unique to this season.

Starting August 12th and running through the 18th Marrone will take his team north to Fort Drum, just north of Watertown to practice on the base. The team will live in soldier barracks for that week and in addition to practice and "x's and o's" the team will do some military drills too.

"That's definitely going to be an experience because none of us have ever been in that type of situation before so it's going to help us bond together and learn new things and learn the military way...with discipline and how they do their things and how it can (translate) into our game" said senior safety Shamarko Thomas.

It no doubt will be a great experience, and as Marrone closed many spring practices to work on team chemistry, the week on the base can only further help that cause.

So while the upcoming season features battles with Northwestern, Southern California, Minnesota and Missouri the only thing on the team's mind is each other, and bettering themselves before that Northwestern game in the Carrier Dome in less than four weeks (12:00, September 1st, ESPN2).

Despite Saturday being media day the team did not practice as it has in years past, today was just the day when all players reported. The first practice is Monday at 5:30 p.m. with Orange Fan Fest getting going on Friday at 3:20 p.m.