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One Man Band: Spring Game Displays “The Syracuse Slash” Ashton Broyld

Slash 2.0 caught passes, played running back and will provide a spark to the offense.

The excitement was palpable on the Hill Saturday for the debut of Mr. Do Everything. Ashton Broyld was barely on the field in Rochester a couple weeks ago, but was all over the Carrier Dome turf during the Spring Game. Ashton embraced the hybrid role, taking snaps at running back and wide receiver, while playing alongside QB Johnny Kinder.

His versatility was on full display as he lined up in the power eye and offset formations in the backfield, and in the slot for screen passes. Even though he didn’t take any snaps under center, it was obvious to see what kind of impact the 6’4” swiss army knife can be this season – and Doug Marrone knows it.

“He’s a big, strong, fast, physical athlete. We’re very fortunate to have him. I think he is going to be a great asset to us offensively. We just have o keep bringing him along, because he’s someone who can make a lot of plays.”

The question now becomes how much will Broyld play at each position? Because of his physicality and explosiveness, Ashton may get a series every half (or more) under center to run the Wildcat and option offense. The Syracuse offense is conservative and predictable with classic drop-back passer Ryan Nassib at QB. But a change of pace with Broyld’s athleticism could be the perfect antidote to the lethargic attack.

Most surprising on Saturday is that Broyld spent more time at WR than RB. Despite a couple drops, designing screens for Broyld in the slot looks like a good idea. That was especially evident when he turned a short pass from Kinder into a 45-yard pickup down the sidelines. For a Spring Game that totaled just 9 points (none of them offensive), it’s obvious SU is desperately seeking playmakers. 

At 6’4” 230 lbs. Broyld doesn’t possess the quickness of Alec Lemon or Van Chew. But the idea of Broyld sifting his way through tackles on a designed bubble screen is exciting. Don’t let the big frame fool you. He still has better speed than most would assume for a player his size. Despite taking big strides this spring, Nassib says Broyld still needs to get comfortable with the offense.

“The kid has tremendous upside. Some of the older guys and myself are going to make sure we can bring him along as much as we can. Instead of trying to throw everything at him at once, we’re going to bring him along piece by piece.” 

Even if Ashton doesn’t see much time under center, the battle between him and Kinder will be entertaining following the season. Johnny looked confident with his tosses on Saturday, and was fearless when airing out deep balls down the field. Nassib graduates after this season, and SU didn’t recruit any quarterbacks in this past class. That means the successor to the throne is already on this roster because it’s highly unlikely SU would hand the keys to a true freshman or first-year transfer in ’13. So Broyld’s influence will be obvious this season, as SU uses him in a “slash” role and preps him to compete for the starting job in the future.

Posted: Kevin Fitzgerald

9 Comments on this Post

  1. Broylds did a great job on Sat and will have an impact on our programs for many years to come.

  2. ashton may be better at receiver, kind of reminds me of a larger mike williams.. it took some time to adjust to the change but i kind of like him at rb/wr now and think that would be a good move for him.

  3. I don’t see him being a productive RB only because he’s huge, 6’4″ 230 definitly see him as a very physical receiver I think 6 4 is just too tall for RB.

  4. #1 Broyld will definetly be a factor this year. I was at the game and what stood out the most was his size. Teams will have to game plan for him. Theres no doubt this is Nassibs team but until he starts taking risks and throwing deep this team will have a hard time scoring. A five yard pass on third and ten is not acceptable. This is the best WR set we have had in a long long long time. Sales, Lemons, Kobena, West and Broyld is not a bad lineup and thats not including the redshirt freshmen and Flemming. It was as though the back ups were trying to impress Marrone by throwing it long often as if Dougie is telling Nassib to take chances.

  5. Chris/Bruce:
    After seeing Broyld on Saturday, I agree. He can makes some big plays at the WR position but here are some scenarios where Ashton could play at RB: Obvious passing downs where he can catch some balls out of the backfield. Or maybe even “gimmicky” run plays like toss sweeps. Plays where he’ll have some space to run down the sidelines, shift through blockers.

    Smitty:
    The size is his biggest asset. It’s so under appreciated. I mean he’s not slow, so maybe he even embraces a type of “Brandon Jacobs” RB role–only difference is that Broyld could smoke Jacobs!

    It’s going to be exciting to see him anywhere on field.

  6. I like the fact that we have a guy that can make plays from 3 different positions on the field. Good luck to defensive coordinators in game planning for that.

    It helps carry the load for the other guys too when you have an impact player that can sub in at so many spots. I still can’t wait to see the incoming freshman. I still think Morris is going to have something to say about who lines up at the running back position.

  7. Russell MacEachern

    He’s to big and not shifty enough to make much of an impact this year or while Marrone’s still here…but watch out toward’s the end of his soph. year into year 3..!!He has enormous potential if utilized right.For this year he should show flash’s against the Stoney Brook’s!

  8. Russell I agree with you!!! He is still way to young(dropped passes) yet to be a “major” factor. You could ruin his confidence if he was not what coaches/fans expect him to be. Ryan is right bring him along slowly. By his JR year he’ll be prime rib. God its s good to talk pigskin instead of round ball. Lets give FB 8/9 months of pub now to OK!!

  9. MOAR FOOOTBALLLLL!!!!

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