FB : SU’s Bailey, Gulley look to replace workhorse Carter in backfield

first_imgAs Antwon Bailey took the first carry on the first play between Syracuse’s offense and defense, a new team finally began playing football with pads. And Bailey started it off with a bang. Literally.Bailey broke outside to the left and burst downfield. As safety Olando Fisher came in to attempt a tackle, SU’s top running back bowled him over. The sound of the collision, followed by Bailey motoring onward down the field, got all of the SU players on the sideline yelling.‘I missed it, man,’ Bailey said. ‘I got the ball, Coach told me it was full go, so I knew no matter what I was running into somebody. Somebody had to pay.’Bailey’s run set the tone for a physical practice as the Orange practiced for the first time this spring in full pads Tuesday at Manley Field House. The rising senior running back is taking over the reigns as the go-to back in the Syracuse offense after spending the past two years as the change-of-pace back behind Delone Carter.SU head coach Doug Marrone said two weeks ago he wouldn’t be able to fully evaluate anyone until the team was going at it in full gear. On Tuesday, he said the first day in pads was a little rough.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘I think we haven’t played football in so long,’ Marrone said. ‘It just always reminds me, I know that it just goes back to that saying. … You never start where you left off.’At the running back position, SU certainly isn’t starting where it left off. The Orange left the Pinstripe Bowl with a Most Valuable Player performance from Carter, but he’s no longer in an SU uniform.Bailey and sophomore Prince-Tyson Gulley are the two backs atop SU’s spring depth chart. Gulley saw significant time returning kicks a year ago, in addition to a few scattered carries. He is now expected to contribute much more on the offensive end.After Bailey’s pop on Fisher, the very next play went to Gulley. He broke off a long run down the right sideline. That run continued the hot offensive start Bailey initiated.‘It was good to get out there with everything and once again being out there with the fellas,’ Bailey said. ‘It was a good time, I think we had a good day overall.’Carter was in attendance Tuesday, walking around the field throughout many of the drills. He’s one of many players from last year’s team participating in Syracuse’s pro day on Wednesday. Bailey said the former SU running back works as a great mentor to his heir apparent.They’re still in constant communication.‘All the time,’ Bailey said. ‘I talk with him and also Curtis Brinkley. He calls me from time to time, too.‘They just let me know it’s my time now, and it’s on my shoulders.’Players, coaches unsatisfied with practiceChandler Jones felt like the defense got beat Tuesday. In the first practice after a 12-day layoff, he didn’t feel like he was as prepared as he should have been.‘I felt like I didn’t do my best job today,’ said Jones, a rising senior defensive end. ‘And it’s my job and my responsibility to bring an even better Chandler Jones back on Thursday.’Jones’ sentiments about practice were on par with Marrone and a couple of the other players. The team still needs to work on its foundation and its fundamentals, Marrone said, and it has a long way to go.At one point in the midst of SU’s 11-on-11 drill, Marrone had enough. Players got a little choppy after a couple of plays, and the third-year head coach screamed, ‘Hey!’ before calling the entire team into a huddle.‘We talk to our players all the time about making sure it’s not combative,’ Marrone said. ‘And today it got a little combative at one point, and when it does, you just stop it. You teach a lesson and move on.’Wales leaves teamBeckett Wales, a rising sophomore tight end, has taken a leave of absence from Syracuse University for personal reasons, Marrone said Tuesday. He said Wales will be welcomed back to the team at the appropriate [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: [email protected] | @mark_cooperjrcenter_img Commentslast_img

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