FB : Marrone pleased with efforts of 6 new signees in early practices

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first_img Published on March 30, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjr Jeremiah Kobena and Jaston George sprinted down the right sideline of the Carrier Dome on Tuesday, fighting for position as Charley Loeb lobbed a ball deep. Two players who weren’t enrolled at Syracuse just a few months ago were duking it out to make a play in a Division I college football practice.And the freshman wide receiver Kobena made what was the play of the day — an over-the-shoulder reception followed by him sliding on his knees. It wasn’t a fault of shoddy coverage by George, though, as the SU freshman cornerback was up for the fight.‘I think it’s still early yet,’ SU head coach Doug Marrone said. ‘But I’m really impressed with all of the first-year guys that are in here, about how they’ve acclimated to the team and the way we practice and the coaching. … It’s not a sense of wide-eyed.’Practicing in the Dome for the first time all season Tuesday, the Orange had a very sloppy practice that Marrone was not happy with afterward. But he said he’s been happy with the play of Syracuse’s six early enrollees from the incoming freshman class. Kobena and George are two players who have shined in moments, playing on the second- or third-team offense and defense.But perhaps the gem of spring practice overall for SU has been linebacker Dyshawn Davis. A teammate of Kobena’s at Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y., last season, Davis has received first-team repetitions at the WILL — or outside — linebacker position. He plays alongside returning starter Marquis Spruill and senior Dan Vaughan.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘I am getting a lot of help from Marquis and Danny — the two starting linebackers,’ Davis said. ‘Before every play, they are checking on me, making sure I know the right keys, making sure I know the right assignment.’Davis was originally a part of the 2010 Syracuse recruiting class as a wide receiver, but he enrolled at Milford for a year. He played wide receiver and safety there last year and comes to SU with Kobena.The linebacker began the spring slotted behind Brice Hawkes on the depth chart at outside linebacker. But Hawkes was suspended for the first three practices, and it gave Davis a chance to impress.Hawkes returned to practice Tuesday, and he ‘got his feet wet,’ Marrone said. He didn’t play on the first-team defense against the offense. Davis stayed in that spot.Marrone wouldn’t single out Davis, saying he is impressed with all of the newcomers.‘I look at the way they handle things,’ Marrone said. ‘The way they handle being corrected. The way they handle the speed of the game. Nothing looks too fast for them. So I’ve been very happy with the way they’ve gone about their business.’Linebacker is one of the most important positions for SU this spring because Marrone and the Orange are replacing two of the team’s best players from last season. Both Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue are NFL Draft prospects. Smith was a co-captain a season ago.As a freshman taking over a spot left by a potential future NFL player, Davis has a tough task. Luckily for Davis, he’s fortunate enough to have a middle linebacker who started as a true freshman in Spruill.‘Marquis was in the same position last year with Derrell and Doug,’ Davis said. ‘They helped him out. Marquis is a young guy like me, but he is more experienced. He wants me to catch up and make plays.’For Kobena, playing time at wide receiver may be hard to come by. Unlike the linebacker position, Syracuse has plenty of depth at wide receiver, led by Marcus Sales and Van Chew.George is battling among a young cornerback corps. He’s been making progress as a second-team cornerback, and with no returning starters at the position, it could be open for competition.‘I think after this week, you’ll start seeing some separation,’ Marrone said. ‘Guys that are picking stuff up a little bit quicker. Guys that we have to spend a little bit more time with to get them up to speed.’No signs of brain tumor for LongDoctors have told former Syracuse punter Rob Long that there are no longer any signs of a brain tumor, Marrone said Tuesday after practice.Long was in the Dome at the start of practice, working out with the team as he prepares for the NFL Draft. And for Marrone and the current SU players, finding out that signs of a brain tumor have disappeared was the day’s best news.‘It’s great news, unbelievable news,’ SU quarterback Ryan Nassib said.Long worked out at Syracuse’s pro day last week, punting in the Dome while the rest of the SU athletes participating worked out in Manley Field House. It’s still a long shot for him to get drafted, but either way, Tuesday’s news was a blessing.‘Rob came back to campus today,’ Marrone said. ‘He’s around the team, he’s preparing for the NFL, so everything right now looks great. We’re excited.’[email protected] Commentscenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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