Syracuse tries to give back to troops in Fort Drum stay

first_img Published on August 12, 2014 at 9:55 pm Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbb FORT DRUM, N.Y. — As much as head coach Scott Shafer praises the troops at Fort Drum for how they influence his Syracuse program, the feeling is mutual.“They look up to the players,” Dave Doyle, commander of the second brigade combat team at Fort Drum, said of the troops. “Some of the players that these troops are going to eat breakfast with are going to be on the field matching skills against some of the best players in the country. They’ll remember that.The Orange is back in Fort Drum for training camp for the third year in a row, and the budding relationship indicates that the tradition won’t be ending anytime soon. Syracuse kicked off its stay at the army reservation, which is situated just Northeast of Watertown, N.Y., on Tuesday and will interact with troops on the base each day until Friday.Former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone started the trend in 2012, and his successor Shafer  — whose uncle, cousin and two grandfathers all served in the military — gladly carries it on.Some of the troops that the Orange interacted with last year were deployed to Afghanistan but have returned in time to reconnect with the players all over again.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“To me, coming from a big military family, I’m taken back when I get around you guys,” Shafer said in a press conference after his team’s practice Tuesday. “It’s just great to be part of this. I’m looking forward to meeting the new faces and new names and I hope some of those troops and players can rekindle their relationships.”SU benefits from the experience in three major ways, Shafer said.“For our guys to sit across from the troops,” Shafer said, “and understand, ‘Hey, I’m 21. He’s 21. He’s up in the mountains in Afghanistan putting it on the line for our country so I can go out and play football,’ that’s the first thing we get out of it.”The Orange also learns how to maximize its small-group leadership from the Fort Drum troops, the head coach added, but the trip is also a chance to offer something in return to the troops.“Anything that we can give back to them in some small degree — and that’s all it is, really, is a small degree — is something that we take great pride in,” Shafer said. “I think this thing is just going to blow up in the next few years and I’m excited to be a small part of that.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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