first_img Published on August 12, 2015 at 12:47 pm Contact Paul: [email protected] | @pschweds Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer described last season as “one hell of a freakish year of injuries.” That’s part of the reason why he has changed the Orange’s practice format this training camp.“I went back and looked at everything since I’ve been here,” Shafer said, “and felt like we had the opportunity really to practice even smarter.”The veterans on the team, mainly first- and second-team players, are taking fewer reps, which allows coaches to spend more time working on technique. It’s also an easier toll on the players’ bodies, but not to the point where they are missing out, Shafer said.After the veterans’ finish practice, the third and fourth teamers, including many freshmen, stay late for about 15-20 minutes. Coaches then gear the pace of the practice to the younger players, allowing them to do more teaching and help the players acclimate to Syracuse’s schemes.Seven defensive linemen are either freshmen or redshirt freshmen, making it one of the Orange’s youngest position groups. Shafer said at the end of practice they could play 9-on-9, without wide receivers, allowing the young linemen to become the center of the coaches’ attention.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“(The young players) might not feel that way but they’re getting more reps, they’re getting evaluated, it’s really nice,” defensive line coach Tim Daoust said. “They’re ready for the showers but it’s the best thing for them.”Defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough said when working with the first- and second-team players, he can get deeper into the team’s technique. With the younger players, he’s sometimes just focused on getting them aligned correctly. The difference in how far along each group is makes it beneficial for the coaches to split them up.It’s a model that legendary NFL head coach Bill Walsh used with the San Francisco 49ers, Shafer said, and even though it’s fewer reps, there is a greater emphasis on the execution of each play. With a decreased workload for veterans, they can work harder in the weight room, ultimately improving fitness and potentially reaching Shafer’s goal of being as fresh and fast as possible for a season opener.“They’re getting quality,” Shafer said of the veterans, “so it’s the whole quality versus quantity kind of thing.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

Syracuse coaches say new practice format is paying dividends

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