Takeaways from Syracuse football’s Orange and Blue scrimmage
Takeaways from SU football's Orange and Blue scrimmage
The Orange and Blue spring scrimmage offered faithful Syracuse football fans a unique experience inside the Carrier Dome. The Friday night was filled with interviews with players and cameos from famous alumni and capped off with the chance to walk down onto the turf.
For the real Syracuse football die-hards, though, the Orange-Blue game gives us our first peek at the rising stars in the Orange program. The game provides us with the opportunity to scout the Syracuse players who may not have gotten the chance to see the field during the 5-7 2021 season. With the senior class already out the door, their roles will be filled by these players as Syracuse tries to return to the national stage.
Here are the players who stood out in Friday night’s Orange and Blue football scrimmage:
Justin Lamson, Quarterback, Redshirt Freshman
With Garrett Shrader out of the game with a hamstring injury, those at the Carrier Dome had the opportunity to watch four redshirt freshman quarterbacks.
Of the four, Justin Lamson stood out from the crowd. Lamson’s processing was strong and boasted efficiency early on in short, quick passing concepts. He also showed off an ability to escape pressure, picking up yards with his legs on both designed runs and scrambles.
The plays everyone will remember from the Orange and Blue game were Lamson’s two long-bomb touchdowns down the left sideline. While his arm and ability to hit receivers in stride are undeniably impressive, fans should take those touchdowns with a grain of salt.
Lamson picked on the same freshman corner on both passes. He also stared down his target on the second touchdown from snap to release. That is a habit that a young player like Lamson can shake off as he gets more comfortable. However, the raw tools Lamson showed off were undeniable.
Umari Hatcher, Wide Receiver, Redshirt Freshman
Several receivers made names for themselves, but Umari Hatcher shined brightest on Friday night. Hatcher played in four games last season but failed to record any stats. He lit up the field last night, though, with several impressive catches.
Justin Lamson to Umari Hatcher for the 35-yard score!
— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) April 1, 2022
Hatcher flashed his speed and ability to create separation all night. All Hatcher needed was a quick double-move to put freshman corner Dom Foster on the ground and haul in the first of Lamson’s two long touchdowns.
Stefon Thompson, Linebacker, Sophomore
Stefon Thompson has continued to prove himself as a member of the Orange defense. Starting 22 career games for Syracuse, Thompson is already well-versed in the Orange offensive system.
That doesn’t take away from what he was able to do in Friday’s performance. The most impressive thing about Thompson as a standup inside linebacker is his lateral speed. Thompson had an impressive pass breakup on Dan Villari’s first drive and flashed great closing speed.
That skill set pairs very well with his already strong field vision. The sophomore’s ability to pursue running backs on outside run concepts and meet them at the line of scrimmage full force will make a defense that ranked 19th in the country that much stronger.
Ja’Had Carter, Defensive Back, Sophomore
Like Thompson, Ja’Had Carter is no stranger to the field. Carter has 18 starts to his name, notching eight of those this past season. The sophomore cornerback was hampered by injury this season, but if last night was any indication, Carter looks primed for a comeback.
Ja'had Carter showing that closing speed for the pick.
— Syracuse Football (@CuseFootball) April 2, 2022
After failing to record an interception in 2021, Carter had an impressive diving pick off of Villari. Carter undercut a drag route run by Oronde Gadsden II, showing off his impressive closing speed. He also had the body control necessary to get positioned in front of Gadsden II in midair and come down with the football. Between Carter and Darian Chestnut, the Orange will walk into next season loaded at the cornerback position.
LeQuint Allen, Running Back, Freshman
Syracuse is set at the running back position with Sean Tucker at the helm, but the Orange boasted their depth at the position last night. Both Juwaun Price and LeQuint Allen had their moments last night, but Allen impressed as a true freshman last night. His most impressive play came as he took an outside run near midfield all the way to the house.
Allen admittedly had great blocking from guard Dakota Davis, who flushed out a rushing interior lineman to create the initial hole for Allen. However, Allen was dead to rights near the line of scrimmage after Denis Jaquez Jr. lost control of his assignment. The true freshman blew past the defender with a single juke to the outside, cutting back inside off a block from receiver Anthony Queeley to find nothing but green turf ahead of him.
The play came as ACC Network interviewed Tucker, a potential foreshadowing of what Syracuse has in the fold once Tucker’s time with the Orange is up.
Donovan Brown, Wide Receiver, Freshman
There were too many talented wide receivers on the field last night to only mention one. During the second half of play, true freshman Donovan Brown made one of the most impressive catches from a receiver all night.