The SU Football team is just four days away from the beginning of week one, but the focus has already shifted to Northwestern. Preseason camp for the Orange came to a close on Wednesday, allowing the planning to officially begin for their first opponent on September 1st.
"I think our focus changes drastically as we move towards the first game," said head coach Doug Marrone after practice on Wednesday, "What happens now in the course of the next couple of days, evaluations go in, and roles start being placed on players. Things have to be communicated well so the player understands his role and accepts it. We start preparing ourselves strategically for our first opponent."
The Orange players could not be more excited to be preparing to take on an actual team. Facing the same guys each and every practice and scrimmage in August has naturally led to the players craving a brand new challenge.
"There's really nothing you can do from a College standpoint," admits Marrone about keeping practice challenging for his players, "we have to do a good job of switching it up, and that's something that we haven't done before in the past, and I think that's something that we've learned we can do a better job, myself, that's what I'm talking about, and I think we've done a better job with that."
Part of keeping the players focussed was the change of scenery this time around. The Orange had their last three days of camp here in Syracuse after spending a good portion of a week training at Fort Drum.
"Training camp was good," says SU starting quarterback Ryan Nassib. "I feel like we accomplished a lot of goals that we set out for ourselves. I feel like we developed as a team, more specifically as an offense. I feel like a whole other year in the system only made us better. We progressed that way. We just got better at it really. We did well. We had a lot of guys stepping up, some good competition. I think we got better each and every day. We just have to keep going forward until we start getting ready for Northwestern."