Syracuse football held the first practice of their highly-anticipated 2013 season today with new head coach Scott Shafer at the helm. While players went through drills without pads, Shafer was pleased with the level of intensity he saw on the field.
"I thought the kids played with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of excitement," said Shafer. "For a first day without pads on it was good but obviously we have a lot of work to do."
Keeping his players later than anticipated on the practice field, Coach Shafer stressed the importance of details and discipline on his squad.
"What I told them in our team meeting earlier today is that we want to do the first practice really well," said Shafer. "What I mean by that is that the first time we do anything together this fall, let's do it the right way. At times our helmets weren't buckled up right like they should have been. We wanted to get that right. The first time we break the huddle, the first time we take the field, the first time we break the line. That's the whole focus right there and it took us a few minutes to get things right."
In the 45 minutes of practice open to media, the team briefly broke out into individual groups across two practice fields before moving on to conditioning drills. Quarterbacks ran through their playbooks with a full offense at one point, with Terrel Hunt taking snaps with the first team, Drew Allen working with another group and the remaining four quarterbacks rotating with a third group.
Shafer opened his press conference by sharing a bit of tongue-in-cheek insight on the heated competition at one position.
"Let me guess, you guys want to know how the defensive back battle is going."
For those wondering, sophomore Julian Whigham is apparently turning up the heat on senior cornerbacks Ri'Shard Anderson and Keon Lyn.
But Shafer remained mum on the quarterback competition, explaining simply that he'll make a decision, "before kickoff against Penn State."
That kickoff, slated for August 31 at 3:30 p.m. will take place at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.