Looking fast and fit for football

My dear wife Karen and I have attempted to attend the Syracuse Orange’s annual spring football game, loyal season ticket holders that we’ve been for seven seasons now.

It’s not always been so much fun, through the four years under the guidance of Doug Marrone, even though that Orange alum turned a bad team around to bowl-worthiness before leaving for the Buffalo Bills, and three for Scott Shafer, whose first squad made the Texas Bowl but them plummeted to a pair of 3-9 seasons, prompting his dismissal after last season.

New Syracuse football coach Dino Babers gets interviewed before Saturday's spring game.

New Syracuse football coach Dino Babers gets interviewed before Saturday’s spring game.

Which brings us to new coach Dino Babers, who just completed his first spring session leading the Syracuse team.

Babers arrived from Bowling Green, where his teams ran an offense that scorned the huddle, instead getting up after a play, racing to the line of scrimmage, turning toward the sideline to receive the play, and hiking the ball as quickly as possible.

He learned this style while an assistant at Baylor under Art Briles. Baylor regularly scores, oh, 50 points a game.

There is great anticipation for what might happen to the Syracuse program now that Dino Babers is calling the shots. Well, enough anticipation for a bit more than 4,000 folks to show up for the game on Final Four Saturday, anyway.

Hover over any gallery photo for a description. Click on any of the images for an enlarged slide show.

Of course, the players must familiarize themselves with this style, which is far different from the past regime’s.

QB’s Eric Dungey and Zack Mahoney looked fairly at ease racing up to the line of scrimmage, and passing the ball.

Dontae Strickland ran well, and Brisly Estime caught most everything thrown his way.

Most interesting was a quote in Sunday’s Post-Standard.

Said Babers: “We’ll never be that slow again.”

Scary mural for Otto's Army.

Scary mural for Otto’s Army, and a far cry from the fuzzy version that runs around the field.

If that’s the case, expect a lot of noise from Otto’s Army come September.

Here’s a YouTube clip of a short touchdown drive I caught in front of us.

If you’ve attended a spring football game, what campus was it on? What did you think of the game? Does your school have a scary mascot or comforting mascot, and which do you prefer?

11 thoughts on “Looking fast and fit for football

  1. i love that quote. i go about every other year to our spring game, here in ann arbor and i always enjoy it. not crazy exciting, but it’s fun to see the team early and it gets me hopped up for the season )


  2. I love Spring Ball… I have been to Edinboro Games and Ohio State spring games. A little more relaxed and yet you get a quick sneak peak of a play or two.
    Going to be watching Syracuse this year with their hurry up offense. They are going to rack up the points. Liked your video very much. But I did not see the ball go over the goal line. Maybe the video did not play the whole way.
    As for Mascots… At Edinboro we have the Fighting Scot… He is nice. And of course Brutus at Ohio State is a cutie! So I like nice mascots!!


  3. I’m not much of a football follower but great pics Mark. I laughed out loud when I saw the little pic of the couch being interviewed on the field. A very funny football memory from decades ago popped up unexpectedly – one of those classic moments in life that happens in seconds and gets a chuckle every time it is stumbled upon. At the time I had a girl friend- Grace – in Boston. She was in TV production and had a full time job at Century 3 Teleproductions. On the side she had a business assembling TV production crews for sporting events that needed a crew. This happened more often than one would expect because any pro games that were not sold out were typically not broadcast locally but the visiting team would always send a TV production truck and hire her to supply camera operators, cable pullers, grips, etc.

    She got called at the last minute to assemble a crew one weekend when I was laid over in Boston – a crew for a match between the new England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs at Foxboro Stadium. Grace asked if I wanted to come along and she would get me a seat in the production truck. Being fascinated with electronics, I happily accepted. The evening turned rainy and cold and the crew grumbled and one guy, who was sneezing went home. Grace came to me and asked if i wanted to replace him and pull cable on the field. i agreed and they gave me a fast lesson in how to manage the cable of one of the hand held cameras around the field as it did interviews and specialty video shots. All the A/V cables plugged into a huge transfer panel on the west side wall of the stadium.From that panel most of the signals went to the production truck parked outside which held the director and comms guys and then to satellite up-link to Kansas City. Some signals were set aside for local media and they went to small onsite radio station trucks and news feeds. Those were managed by the locals and all the rest were managed by Grace. There were two main cameras and they traveled up and down the west side of the field very fast on rails as they followed the play.

    There were only a few rules and the most important rule that stood above all others was that nothing,and I mean nothing, short of a direct nuclear strike would be allowed to interfere with the video feed from those two cameras – they were sacrosanct. Everyone was aware of this rule and how critical it was deemed to be. Any local media were given a similar lecture by Grace before being allowed on the side lines. So, part way through the game, one of the players was hurt and could not continue to play but appeared on the side lines after getting medical attention (pulled shoulder i think as his arm was in a sling). A young excited local female reporter and her cameraman rushed over to interview him. Just as they started the interview, the play moved down the field and one main camera came barreling down the rails following. The operator stopped when he saw the local reporter’s cables across his tracks. Grace’s head swiveled ( I happened to be not far away and saw it all take place) and as she took about three huge running steps to the offending cables, I wondered what she would do. What was the punishment for breaking Rule #1? By the time she arrived at the cables blocking the camera, she had a switch blade out and open, and she scooped the cables cut and threw them all in one motion. The main camera continued down the field.

    Meanwhile the star reporter and her camera man were busy interviewing and had not clued into the fact that they were no longer hooked to anything. They happily chatted away for a few minutes before one of the crew took pity on them and sauntered over to point out that they were, in essence, just talking to themselves. Ha!


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