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Comments For Ri’Shard Anderson, Tuesday was a long time coming. After sitting on the sidelines all of last season, he just wanted to get out on the field.‘It felt good,’ said Anderson, a Syracuse rising junior cornerback. ‘Felt like I hadn’t been out there in two years. It was weird. I had to get back to my comfortable spot.’Anderson is listed as a starting cornerback on the pre-spring depth chart as Syracuse opened up spring practice Tuesday. It was the first of 15 spring practices that will culminate in SU’s annual spring game April 16. After missing all of last season with a right shoulder injury, the junior enters 2011 with a chance to step in and play immediately on a defense that ranked No. 7 in the nation a season ago.The opportunity is there for Anderson because of the turnover on defense for the Orange entering a new season. Syracuse returns just five starters on defense and none at the cornerback spot.That gives players like Anderson, and younger players such as sophomore defensive tackle Jay Bromley and sophomore linebacker Brice Hawkes, chances to step up.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text‘People write that it’s a challenge, but for us, for coaches, it’s exciting to bring the younger players along and develop them,’ Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone said. ‘It’s not a secret we’re going to have to develop players on the interior of the defensive line. We’re going to have to develop players at the linebacker level. … And we’ve got to develop our young players at the corner position.’The main competitors at cornerback, along with Anderson, are senior Kevyn Scott and sophomore Keon Lyn. Both also struggled with injuries last year, as Scott battled a recurring hamstring problem in the early portion of the season and Lyn was diagnosed with mononucleosis.There’s even a learning curve for some of the returning starters on defense. Marquis Spruill, who started last season as a freshman at outside linebacker, alongside seniors Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue, will move to ‘mike’ (middle) linebacker this year.With two inexperienced outside linebackers alongside him, Spruill plans on playing with the air of a veteran despite being a sophomore. But he still has to learn his new position.‘It is (rewarding), but it’s just like being a freshman all over again because being a mike in this defense is different than other defenses I’ve played on,’ Spruill said.Marrone said he hopes to see some separation among all of the young players by the end of the spring so the team can go into the preseason in August with a solid depth chart.He said that means people stepping up. People like Anderson. The cornerback suffered another injury late in Tuesday’s practice — he twisted his ankle — but he said he is fine and good to go.‘I’m amped up,’ Anderson said. ‘Ready to go get a bigger bowl game, help the team compete and have fun with the team.’Sales looks to build off Pinstripe Bowl, offseason workThree months removed from his three-touchdown performance in the Pinstripe Bowl, Marcus Sales took to the turf of Manley Field House on Tuesday to build on that afternoon.And after an offseason during which the Syracuse wide receiver said he improved his game dramatically, he was rewarded with a starting position entering 2011. The senior is ahead of junior wideout Alec Lemon, who started for much of last season. Van Chew is the other listed starting receiver.Though Sales’ rise on the depth chart is partly due to his standout performance in Syracuse’s bowl win, it’s also a credit to his work off the field in the last three months.‘Everything about me increased,’ Sales said. ‘My vertical. I got faster. I got stronger.’In 2010, Syracuse’s offense was anemic at times, especially in the passing game. But this season, the offense is the stable side of the ball for SU. Including Lemon, the Orange return eight starters on the offensive side of the ball. With just five returnees on the defensive side, Syracuse’s offense has the veterans.One of those veterans is Sales. From catching the game-winning touchdown at South Florida to nearly taking Pinstripe Bowl MVP honors, he managed to have a successful junior campaign after beginning the year off of the two-deep depth chart.This year, he’s focused on helping take the offense to the next level.‘As a senior I know I got to come up and be more of a leader and be more vocal, lead by my actions,’ Sales said. ‘It feels good to know that I got younger players that look up to me. They’re just depending on me to do the right thing, and I just got to help them to get where I’m at right now.’This and thatA handful of players did not practice Tuesday, including Chandler Jones, who was afflicted with a stomach bug, and Brice Hawkes, who was suspended for the first three practices for a team violation, Marrone said. … Syracuse’s three practices this week on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday will be in Manley Field House due to the snowstorm, Marrone said. After Spring Break, practices will take place at Schwartzwalder-Katz Fields. … The Orange will hold one practice in Rochester at Sahlen’s Field on March email@example.com Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on March 8, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Mark: firstname.lastname@example.org | @mark_cooperjr
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