Syracuse partners with military for practice

Syracuse coach Doug Marrone is taking his team on the road for a portion of fall practice, to Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division in upstate New York for some military-style preseason training.

The Orange hit the road Aug. 12 and will practice on Sligh Field at Fort Drum, hold meetings in an Army Battalion Headquarters, eat in an Army dining facility and sleep in soldier barracks. In addition to football, players and coaches will participate in various military activities, including Army physical training and small unit leadership seminars. The week will end with a scrimmage played before the 10th Mountain Division soldiers and their families Aug. 18.

"We appreciate the opportunity to incorporate the unique leadership and team building exercises into our program," coach Doug Marrone said in a statement. "Our philosophy is to develop the person and then the athlete. This environment will greatly aid in the growth of our young men and further our valuable relationship with Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division."

Fort Drum and Syracuse have a long-standing partnership. Soldiers from the base have visited football practices and attended games in the Carrier Dome, while Syracuse football and basketball players have visited Fort Drum and learned about what the troops do to prepare to meet their mission requirements.

Marrone has kept things quite interesting with his football team since last season ended, and he clearly is serious in his goal to get this team completely and thoroughly focused for the season. This seems like a great motivational tactic.

Syracuse becomes the third Big East team to take a portion of spring practice on the road, joining Cincinnati (Camp Higher Ground, West Harrison, Ind.) and USF (Vero Beach, Fla.).