The Syracuse Orange football team had their final walk through on the Yankee Stadium football field on Friday afternoon, and for the seniors it was a pleasant kind of dj vu. The 7-5 Orange are preparing for their second New Era Pinstripe Bowl appearance in three years when they take on 7-5 West Virginia on Saturday at 3:30 PM. While the first Pinstripe Bowl experience was a 36-34 win over Kansas State, head coach Doug Marrone expects this one will ultimately be a better experience.
"Everyday in life you have a different experience," says Marrone, "its better, it gets better and better, so the second time around is better."
Many of the Orange players were breathing a little bit heavier at practice this week, having broken their regular routines through end of year exams and the Christmas Holidays. While there is a very short time to prepare, and to get back on track with Marrone's game plan, the coaches and players are treating it as another great challenge.
" Anytime that schedule of routine is broken, it's hard , "admits Marrone, " because with that schedule you are able to gage where you are with the players . We take it as a challenge and and a learning experience promote it as positive thing rather than a negative about getting off schedule."
Another factor that could throw off both teams is that snow is in the forecast in the Bronx throughout Saturday's game. The 2010 Pinstripe Bowl followed a massive snow storm in New York City, so Marrone says he's confident that the Yankee Stadium staff will keep the field playable.
"F or me my biggest concern is to just win ," says Marrone, " with the snow, the only thing I get worried about is if those officials can see those lines . T wo years ago, we had a good experience with people shove l ling it, so it'll be fine and be fun that's what makes football fun .
The New Era Pinstripe Bowl can be watched on ESPN starting at 3:15 PM on Saturday. We'll have full coverage from New York City on NBC-3 and CBS-5 at 6 pm and 11 pm, and on CW-6 at 10 PM.