Football camp report 2015: Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central Eagles (video)

Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central Eagles

2014 record: 7-2

Head Coach: John Cosgrove, sixth season

Practice overview

Whether it was the sticky weather or the fatigue that made it hard to focus on fundamentals, the Eagles were logy. Practice was slogging along Wednesday morning next to the downtown school. Then head coach John Cosgrove ordered up a thud drill. He read the team the riot act about not taking players to the ground in the drill. But with the Eagles in shoulder pads and helmets, the drill flipped a switch. Tech players came alive. They suddenly seemed hungry, showing off their size, quickness and athleticism. It was a glimpse into the kind of potential that will make the Eagles’ transition into Class B interesting and what the team believes will be competitive. “Hitting makes us feel good,” said linebacker Nizavier Evans. “It makes us appreciate football more. Sometimes, drills are like, boring. But then hitting each other, getting the feel of it, it feels so good. We got more intensity once we started thudding a little bit.”

Tech head coach John Cosgrove shows offensive linemen how he wants them to use their hands against the blocking sled during Wednesday practice.
(Donnie Webb |

Name game

The school’s official name is the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central. Who pays people to come up with this pure applesauce? Then there’s the unfortunate relative, Syracuse ITC. Really?  Neither is good branding or exactly fits on a jersey or newspaper headline. On the other hand, Tech does (ding ding ding). It’s on the front of the football team jerseys, and it’s what the team prefers. So hence, how about Syracuse Tech (for now)?

Car wash

The seniors and juniors  will be washing cars at school on Friday to raise money for homecoming jerseys. The fund-raiser is from noon-3 p.m. It’s $6 per car and $8 per truck.

Heat index

For two straight days, the Syracuse City School District has spiked outdoor practices because of a high heat index and forced football teams to work inside their school buildings. At Tech, the AXA Towers hover over their campus, blinking temperatures that escalate during the day. Wednesday morning, it got up to 84. Some players admit they watch it going up, hoping it might cancel practice. Cosgrove said he’s got one player who says, “my mom works in the AXA building. She says it’s 2 degrees off.”

Biggest shoes to fill

Eagles lost 19 seniors. The biggest losses including TB Loodie Allen, SS Keenan Scott and LBs Jordan Kilduf, Anthony Judge and Glenn Pendergraff.

The Eagles have turned out a string of terrific tailbacks, and sophomore tailback Ny’shawn Jennings appeares to be next in line.
(Donnie Webb |

Money players

L Jon McBride, L/FB Lucky Pettiford. “That’s a big tag team right there,” Evans said.


RB Ny’shawn Jennings, LB/FB Messiah Harrell. Cosgrove said Harrell was brought up to the varsity as a freshman for the last three games last season and scored two defensive touchdowns. T John Marcano.

Rising stars

QB Trevor Stone.

Offensive overview

Eagles have a beefy line, two bulldozers at fullback and small, fast tailbacks who can take it to the house. What the Eagles lack is cohesiveness. They’re also breaking in a new quarterback. This team can’t rely on the 60-yard home run play so much this season. It’ll have to move the chains and sustain some drives.

Tech assistant coaches Tom Royal and Bob Shephard wore team shirts on Wednesday. Shephard also wore a team hat.
(Donnie Webb |

Defensive overview

Tech will earn its keep here. In McBride and Pettiford, they’ll have two of the most disruptive tackles in Section III. They’ve got solid linebackers in Harrell and Nizavier Evans. During the thud drill on Wednesday, McBride and Pettiford blew up every guard and every snap. Even double teamed, they were pushing the quarterback into the tailback at the point of handoff. One guard jumped off sides. Another time, Pettiford caused a fumble at the point of exchange. Secondary is a question mark.

Million dollar question

“How quickly we gel, that’s going to be the big thing,” Cosgrove said. “We’ve got guys out that have never played. We’ve got guys coming up off the JV team and we’ve got some returners. So how quickly we can get them working as one unit, that’s going to decide a lot.”

Camp postcard

Junior quarterback Chaunel Flowers decided to add a different name onto the athletic tape across the front of his helmet. In addition to Flowers, he added the word, “Magne.” Flowers said Cosgrove told him it was the French word for king. After a google search, it appears to be a Norwegian word for fierce warrior.

Tech quarterback Chaunel Flowers throws to receivers during a passing drill Wednesday.
(Donnie Webb)

This is the helmet worn by Tech quarterback Chaunel “Magne” Flowers.
(Donnie Webb)

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