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SU Football’s Efficiency on Special Teams: An Early Season Highlight?

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The Fizz has dissected the numerous options the Orange has at wide receiver this coming season. Well, Syracuse could turn to those players in the kick return game in 2014.

Syracuse.com’s Nate Mink recently touched on one in particular that can dominate that field. WR Brisly Estime is a single card of a stacked deck head coach Scott Shafer can choose from:

“We have some good options. I’m excited to show you guys those on Friday night. (Estime) is one of them.”

As opposed to sliding all of the weight onto the running backs for this role, you can only appreciate Shafer is open and actually executing a plan to work different personnel into the special teams category. Estime is not a bad guy to start with. His speed at the Texas Bowl did not go unnoticed—by anyone.

Whether it is indeed Estime or freshman Ervin Philips, or even a handful of running backs in on the job, the key here is that there are plenty of possibilities. That usually isn’t the case because when you think special teams, oftentimes it can be a very close-minded, dicey subject. 

As Mink noted, Estime consumed nine such touches (kickoffs and punts) as a true freshman last year. Those RBs like George Morris II, Devante McFarlane and Prince-Tyson Gulley were go-to kick return men last season, as well. Mix in Philips and, hey, we have some “good options” here, as Shafer noted.

Look, not usually do fans or spectators go bananas about who’s on special teams, but Syracuse is exploring these roles a bit more extensively. It’s not a sign of desperation. 

Think of it more as a way of really getting a sense of what this offensive group of young players is really made of. How thick is its skin? What can one guy do that the other guy can’t? Creating a bit of (gulp) hard-nosed competition is absolutely a good thing.

Friday night against Villanova, don’t expect a blueprint with the special teams’ units. What many say is the game’s third most important aspect behind offense and defense could very well compile SU’s best early season highlights due to the hyped uncertainty and galore of talent.

Posted by: Brendan Glasheen

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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