Syracuse University's Men's Football team began practice this weekend with a clear focus on looking forward not backward. The team is coming off a 3-9 season in 2014. That disappointment followed seasons in 2013 and 2012 that both ended in bowl victories.
In 2013, SU defeated Minnesota in the Texas Bowl to cap off a 7-6 season. In 2012, the season ended with a Pinstripe Bowl victory over West Virginia for a record of 8-5.
Head Coach Scott Shafer is telling the team to stay focused on the future, not on the past. He's about to start his third season leading the Orange. Shafer will be working for the first time under new Athletic Director Mark Coyle, who was hired this past June.
The team will be led on the field by Terrel Hunt, the quarterback who lost most of last season with an injury. He says he used the time observing the game from the sideline and coaches box, getting different angles and perspectives he believes can help him help others mentally.
He's learning a new offense, which he says is exciting because it will create mismatches with opposing defenses.
This weekend's first press conference also included linebacker Zaire Franklin. The sophomore is SU's leading returning tackler.
Franklin echoes his coach in not wanting to look back at last season. Instead he says his class of second year players needs to step up.
The team starts the season September 4th against Rhode Island in the Carrier Dome to begin 4 straight home games. The last of that string is against perennial power LSU, September 26th. ACC league games include Wake Forest, Virginia, Pittsburgh, Florida State, Louisville, Clemson, North Carolina State, and Boston College.