Winter storm moves WVU practice; Mountaineers center out; Syracuse players tour NYC

first_imgNEW YORK – The bitter cold left Syracuse shivering during its two-hour practice Wednesday, while the start of a winter storm forced West Virginia’s practice indoors. As the Pinstripe Bowl approaches, the weather is wreaking havoc for both teams.The Orange practiced at Columbia University’s Baker Athletics Complex at the northern-most tip of Manhattan. Under gray skies and with the temperature barely reaching 30 degrees, Syracuse had much better preparation for the conditions it’ll face during the game Saturday. West Virginia was supposed to practice outside at Fordham University’s Jack Coffey Field, but the impending storm moved practice to a ballroom in the team’s hotel.Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib said he and the Orange haven’t played in this type of weather all year.“You could say I’m used to this weather because I’m from Syracuse, but a lot of times we don’t play in this weather,” Nassib said. “But we practice outside, we’ll be prepared for it.”While Syracuse practiced in full pads, the Mountaineers went with jerseys, shorts and sneakers during their indoor practice. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith said Wednesday the room was about 75 degrees, so the Mountaineers went through an intense, exhausting practice.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThey still haven’t faced the biting cold, though, and that’s something Syracuse strong safety Shamarko Thomas said will be an advantage for the Orange’s defense. Though Syracuse has now been in this type of environment, West Virginia still has to get used to it, Thomas said.“It’s definitely an advantage. Offenses do terrible in cold weather,” Thomas said. “They can’t hold onto the ball, the ball’s cold and slippery. That’s time for us to get turnovers.”West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen said the Mountaineers can’t make excuses for not having an ideal practice. But West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin said the frigid weather could eventually become a problem.“When you first go out there on the field you’re happy,” Austin said. “It’s snow, you really haven’t seen it all year. But around halftime, third quarter, it starts getting a little too cold. At the end of the day you just have to that will, you want to win.”Madsen outWest Virginia center Joe Madsen has been ruled academically ineligible for the Pinstripe Bowl.Holgorsen spoke about Madsen at Yankee Stadium Wednesday, calling his loss “disappointing.”“It’s disappointing he didn’t take care of business,” Holgorsen said. “The expectation for our guys is to go to class and get good grades and leave West Virginia with a good quality education and degree. Joey fell short of that and we’re disappointed.”Madsen was key to West Virginia’s offense as a three-year starter, and was a stabilizing force on the Mountaineers’ offensive line. He also helped star quarterback Geno Smith by reading opposing defenses.The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Madsen was a first-team All-Big East center in 2011.Syracuse linebacker Siriki Diabate said though West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith is the same player the Orange has beaten in the past two seasons, the loss of Madsen could have an effect on the way he plays.“He’s still the same guy,” Diabate said. “I guess he’s making the reads better. But he also had the center helping him out and everything. We’ll see what he’s got when we play him at the Stadium.”Taking in the sightsSyracuse spent early Wednesday morning at the top of the Empire State Building before heading to its first practice in New York City to prepare for the Pinstripe Bowl. During the week, the Orange will make numerous stops at New York landmarks.On Thursday, a few players from both teams, including Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib, will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange. Later in the afternoon, the Orange will visit the 9/11 Memorial as a team.Left tackle Justin Pugh spent some of Wednesday touring Manhattan with left guard Zack Chibane, a native of nearby Paramus, N.J.“Today we went and saw Rockefeller Center. The Empire State Building was awesome,” Pugh said. “I’m looking forward to the 9/11 Memorial. That’s something that’s going to be great.”Though he’s enjoying sightseeing, Pugh said, the focus will shift more toward football and the game itself as the week progresses.“But at the same time, we’re here on a business trip. We’re here to play football, so as the days go on, less and less touristy things, more and more football,” Pugh said. “That’s the transition we’re making now.” Comments Published on December 26, 2012 at 11:24 pm Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_iseman Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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