GREENSBORO, N.C. — Syracuse offensive lineman Sean Hickey and linebacker Cam Lynch spoke with reporters today on Day 1 of the ACC Kickoff. Here are few nuggets we learned about the Orange today.
•Syracuse offensive coordinator George McDonald has committed to making the Orange’s offense go faster this season. Hickey said the biggest hold up on making that happen has been working on conveying the play call from the sideline into the huddle. He added that the biggest emphasis this spring was pushing the tempo on every play from scrimmage.
•To Hickey’s surprise, Syracuse’s starting center at this point is senior John Miller. Hickey expected Rob Trudo to fill that position, which was held by Macky MacPherson all of last season. Hickey said Miller has gotten stronger and more athletic since the end of last season, and he proved to be a better snapper than Trudo. “I can’t say enough good things about John Miller,” Hickey said.
•With Miller manning the center position, Trudo, Omari Palmer and Nick Robinson are all fighting for the two starting guard spots. Palmer and Robinson are currently listed atop the depth chart, but Hickey was quick to add that Trudo isn’t viewed as a peg below them. Hickey went on to say that this is the deepest the offensive line has been since he’s been at Syracuse.
•The game circled on Syracuse’s calendar this year is the trip to Clemson on October 25. Despite the 56-point loss at Florida State last season, the Orange are hoping to draw from that experience to perform better in a hostile atmosphere.
•Hickey said returning Terrel Hunt at quarterback was a major confidence-builder for the Orange throughout the spring and heading into fall. He said returning a quarterback answers questions such as how long he’ll hold onto the ball and what his cadence sounds like. Without those concerns, Syracuse believes it’s set for a breakout year offensively, especially in the passing game.
•Hickey said the biggest improvement for the offense was the development of the receiving corps, which was young and inexperienced last season. The receivers’ growth will make the Orange’s offense more balanced and more explosive, he said.
•Lynch said Syracuse is planning on blitzing and playing a more aggressive style of defense this year. The Orange's linebackers are experienced and, perhaps, the most talented position group on the team, so utilizing their ability will help Syracuse make up for a defensive line that isn't as proven.