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

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 read more

Losses hurt more as Lakers begin to adjust expectations

first_img Whicker: Blazers’ Damian Lillard shows Lakers why superstars are worth it AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe loss, however, hurt.And therein lies the difference. In each of the past four seasons, the Lakers have been so often outmatched on the court, that the wins were rare and difficult to predict. The late-season results were tracked more for the impact on the draft lottery than development, and the playoffs were so far out of reach that they were given little thought.Now, sitting seven games back from the eight seed with 19 games to go, the Lakers are just close enough to the playoff race to miss it.“Last year we really weren’t playing for anything,” Randle said. “We were playing to obviously develop us as players, but this year I feel that we’re playing to develop a culture. We’re really learning how to win games and we come in expecting to win games.”But since the All-Star break, Walton’s team has summoned previously unseen resolve, knocking off five teams in a row before succumbing to Portland. Damian Lillard takes over late as Blazers end Lakers’ 5-game win streak Lakers finding meaning in season’s final stretch as wins keep coming “We were kind of going one-on-one a little, hoping people would make a big shot,” Walton said, “and we’ve got to be better on that.”The Lakers had a chance to force overtime, down by three with 7.4 seconds left. But Isaiah Thomas’ shot was stripped by Shabazz Napier and the Lakers (28-35) lost 108-103.It was an impressive effort with second-year forward Brandon Ingram out at least a week with a groin injury and the Lakers already without rookie defensive specialist Josh Hart due to hand surgery.“Our guys battled last night,” Walton said. “They built a 10-, 11-point lead against a playoff team without those guys.”The level of competition stiffens over the final month of the season. After hosting Orlando on Wednesday, in the next week the Lakers will face Denver twice, Cleveland and play at Golden State.Related Articles Brandon Ingram out with groin strain for at least a week, Lakers say Their final five games, starting on April 3, feature two games against the Utah Jazz, and matchups with the Spurs, Rockets, Timberwolves and Clippers. All are either teams in the playoffs or in the mix for the final slot in the Western Conference.With 30 wins on the horizon, Lakers players have started speaking openly about a desire to get into the playoff picture, to shake up the race. Walton prefers to keep his team’s focus on what is directly in front of it.“They know how important it is for us to continue to build and get better,” he said. “We can’t waste the last 20 games of the season. We have to use these as opportunities to build momentum into the summer, whether it’s the playoffs or not. Build momentum and confidence and get better. Because it’s all part of the journey we’re on to get back to being a playoff and eventually a championship team.” EL SEGUNDO — The evidence was all over the faces of Lakers players as they sat through a film session on Tuesday, the morning after they blew an 11-point fourth-quarter lead and lost to the Portland Trail Blazers.Expectations have changed for the Lakers.“Last night, we went home after the game very disappointed,” forward Julius Randle said. “We definitely go into games feeling like we should win.”Coach Luke Walton stressed that “there wasn’t a dark cloud” over his team. “There was still laughter and joy once we got out here to the court,” he said. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more