5 important players to watch at Syracuse’s Spring Game

first_img Published on April 17, 2014 at 1:22 am Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1 Facebook Twitter Google+ John Miller (center)Miller began taking first-team snaps on April 6 and has since impressed his teammates and coaches.His move allows Rob Trudo, who had been transitioning to the center position, to return to left guard, where he started all of last season.Miller’s strength is his snapping ability. While Trudo struggled to consistently place shotgun snaps — occasionally hitting a running back in the chest rather than the quarterback’s hands — Miller is accurate and consistent with his timing.A strong performance in the Spring Game could help the front-runner lock up the starting job.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Some people are natural at it, and Miller is,” Syracuse quarterbacks coach Tim Lester said. “Our guys love it when he’s in there just because they know where it’s going to be and when it’s going to get there.”Adonis Ameen-Moore (running back)Ameen-Moore is primed for a return to the rotation after receiving only five carries last season.Once a Tank package specialist, the rising senior is working to slim down and become more of the downhill, power-type back that SU lost in Jerome Smith. He displayed that ability with a couple mean stiff arms in the team’s open practice on April 8.SU running backs coach DeAndre Smith called Ameen-Moore’s improvement the biggest surprise of the group this spring, and said he expects him to get more carries in the fall.“Absolutely he’ll see some snaps,” Smith said. “If he progresses like he should and he drops the weight that we’re going to target for him, he’ll play. Absolutely.”Austin Wilson (quarterback)The rising sophomore has taken the majority of second-team snaps this spring and boasts the strongest arm of the quarterbacks.“He has a cannon,” rising junior quarterback Terrel Hunt said. “That’s the first thing. He can throw. Sometimes I’m like, ‘I’ve got to step my game up.’”Make no mistake, Hunt’s job is secure. But Wilson can strengthen his hold on the backup job with a strong Spring Game performance.He’s been competing with freshman A.J. Long and fellow rising sophomore Mitch Kimble, who missed time earlier in the spring with a lower-back injury.Marqez Hodge (linebacker)Flanked by rising seniors Dyshawn Davis and Cam Lynch, Hodge is preparing to take on the role of starting middle linebacker as a rising sophomore.He broke out with a career-high 12 tackles in the Orange’s 56-0 loss to Georgia Tech last season, played sparingly down the stretch and looked comfortable making calls at the line on April 8.“I like this Hodge kid,” SU head coach Scott Shafer said. “He’s really putting some good plays on tape. I’m feeling real comfortable with him in the middle now.”Wayne Williams (defensive tackle)The junior college journey is over for Williams, but the path to playing time is still long from over for the 6-foot-4, 330-pound space-eater.He’s spending the majority of his practice time getting in shape, and defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough said Williams can only play 5–10 plays full speed.“He’s got to get in shape,” SU defensive line coach Tim Daoust said. “Thank the Lord he’s here now and not in August.”Williams said he expects to contribute in the fall, and teammates agree he has the talent and strength to do so.We’ll get a live look at his motor for the first time Saturday. Commentslast_img

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