Syracuse recently announced the designs for the brand-new indoor football practice facility. Orange Nation is awaiting the new building that is poised to heavily improve recruiting and keep Syracuse’s facilities competitive with ACC schools.
The ACC is a different animal than the Big East, and the types of recruits the Orange want are going to be looking at the bells and whistles of the facilities. In the Big East, Syracuse could get away with practicing at a dated Manley Fieldhouse. However, when recruits see other facilities in the ACC such as the Murphy Center at N.C. State or the brand-new Albert J. Dunlap Practice Facility at Florida State, SU will pale in comparison. Syracuse’s football facilities were near the bottom of the Big East by ESPN last year.
In the preliminary design plans there are aspects the department got right and a few concerns they need to take a look at before construction:
- 44 Plaza. A plaza outside the facility that will have the statues of Ernie Davis, Jim Brown, and Floyd Little. Syracuse loves to push its tradition and past glory on the fan base, so naturally the 44 Plaza would do just that. The plaza provides a good reminder of SU football’s great past and gives the outside a nice look when completed. It’s a good idea for SU to use the new facility to remind young players how much history came before them. These are two NFL Hall of Famers and a Heisman winner with a major motion picture about his life. Can’t ever honor them enough.
- Low ceiling: The building is only supposed to reach a height of 65 feet on the inside, making it very difficult for the kicking unit to practice punts inside the facility. One solution the department came up with is to practice kicks on the outside fields or inside the Carrier Dome. SU will have to see if there is any way to accommodate kicking. It seems strange to spend $17 million and have a low roof.
- Extreme Makeover Orange Edition? The design pictures left some fans underwhelmed. The facility looks very basic and bland from the outside. If $17 million is being put into the building, fans want to see an eye-popping exterior rather than a facility that could pass for an office building. The university should consider adding some color rather than and all white exterior, similar to the Melo Center.
- Location and Timeline: If all goes right, the facility should be open for the players a year from now. From a recruiting perspective, getting the ball rolling would be important before National Signing Day in February. Recruits love to have something to look at when coaches are boasting about new facility construction. The location next to the Manley Fieldhouse South parking lot also makes the facility very accessible to the players.
It’s great SU has the capability to build a new facility, but it’s important it’s done right. If it is, the Orange program will have a dynamic feather in its cap.
Posted: Zephan Mayell