Injured Broyld studies his multidimensional role from the sideline in spring

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on April 9, 2013 at 12:26 am Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Related Stories Morris III adds depth to experienced group of running backsNew-look wide receiver corps emerging for Syracuse in springSignal change: Syracuse searches for its next quarterback in spring practicecenter_img A year ago, Ashton Broyld struggled to get on the field.He lacked a clearly defined role. He came to Syracuse as a quarterback, but was primarily a running back and wide receiver.This spring, he could be preparing for a breakthrough year. In practice, he has made plays split out wide, from the backfield and even under center, to prepare for a potential pistol offense.There were signs of progress, but Broyld suffered a high ankle sprain earlier this spring and was ruled out for the remainder of spring practice on March 29 — a setback for a player who wowed coaches early in the season.“It’s too bad, too, because he was playing really well,” head coach Scott Shafer said. “I was really pleased with the way he was playing.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBroyld starred at Rush Henrietta High School in Rochester, N.Y., and Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y., as a quarterback, but moved to running back upon joining the Orange. He rushed for 171 yards as a freshman, highlighted by a 61-yard game and his first career touchdown against Stony Brook, and a 58-yard game against Connecticut.He faded out of the running back rotation down the stretch. He carried the ball just five times in SU’s last five games and failed to see the field in Syracuse’s final two regular-season games.Part of that had to do with the strong running back duo of Prince-Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith, but it was also the transition to a new position.This year, Shafer wants to use him “all over the place.”“Last year we tried to do it, I wasn’t quite ready. It was a lot for me. It was new,” Broyld said. “I’m glad that I had a chance to mess with it last year, but now I think I’m ready for the whole thing.”The time on the sidelines could help that. Broyld has the potential to be the ultimate gadget player for the Orange. He has the size to handle the ball in the middle of the field, the speed to play down the sidelines or as a return specialist, and the pedigree to take occasional snaps as a quarterback.“Mental reps … that’s just as important as actually being out there getting those actual reps,” quarterback John Kinder said, “so I think it should serve him well.”During seven-on-seven drills in the Orange’s first practice of the spring, Broyld was almost exclusively used as a wide receiver. With the top two wideouts gone from a year ago, it’s perhaps his best opportunity to get onto the field consistently.Broyld has been on the sidelines for each of the Orange’s scrimmages since injuring his ankle, getting a chance to see each of the positions he could play come fall — running back, slot receiver, wideout and quarterback.“He’s a great-looking kid and real exciting — he’s big and he can move real well,” wide receiver Jarrod West said. “He’s real good in open space, so he’ll definitely help us once he gets healthy and comes back.” Commentslast_img

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