SYRACUSE As far back as January, Syracuse University football coach Doug Marrone has talked about using true freshman Ashton Broyld in a variety of different ways in the offense this season.
Recruited as a quarterback, the multi-talented Broyld spent most of spring practice at the halfback position, occasionally lining up at wide receiver.
At the teams annual media day on Saturday at the Manley Field House Arena, Broyld got his first opportunity to speak about the situation.
Broyld, who is listed as a quarterback in the Oranges 2012 media guide and a halfback on the updated roster distributed on Saturday, has fully embraced his role.
Its fun. I just want to help the team win, said the 6-foot-4, 229-pound Broyld. Once I started doing it a little bit in spring ball, I realized that I really liked it. So its not a problem with me, Im open for whatever.
Broyld joined the team in January, after a season as the starting quarterback at Milford Academy, a prep school in New Berlin.
He played quarterback for Rush-Henrietta High School near Rochester in 2010, where he was named the New York State Class AA Player of the Year after leading the team to a state title and a perfect 13-0 record.
That season, he threw for 1,961 yards and 24 touchdowns, while running for 1,540 yards and 24 scores.
I played quarterback my whole life, so thats the most comfortable Ive ever been and probably will be at a position, Broyld said. But, Im just going to take it day by day, and hopefully Ill get more comfortable as the days go on.
Marrone also addressed Broylds role on Saturday, re-iterating his desire to use Broyld at several different offensive skill positions.
Well have him lined up at running back, well have him lined up in some of the outside things, and well have him lined up at the wildcat position, said Marrone, the fourth-year head coach whose team begins fall practices on Monday. Were going to have those things going on at camp, and like I said before, we have to do a good job of managing what we can handle.
We dont want to look back and say, Gosh, I wish we would have pushed him to do that and it would have helped us win, Marrone added. Were going to look and play all the players that we feel are going to help us win.
With third-year starting quarterback Ryan Nassib entering his final season with the Orange, there will be a vacancy under center entering next season.
Broyld said he would move to his natural quarterback position if thats what the coaching staff wants him to do, but is content in his current role for as long as the team needs him to be there.
Im going to play wherever they put me, Broyld said. Like I said, I just want to win. So, if thats what they want to do and put me there, then Ill be happy there, you know what I mean? But Im just here to win.
■ All-conference left tackle Justin Pughs injury status remains unchanged. He will miss preseason practices and is out for at least the Sept. 1 season opener against Northwestern at the Carrier Dome due to offseason shoulder surgery.
Marrone, who called Pugh one of the best left tackles in the Northeast, said that Sean Hickey will open camp as the starter at left tackle.
Marrone added that Hickey, a 6-foot-6, 282-pound junior from Murrysville, Pa., joined the team out of high school with better numbers than Pugh, but has been injured for a majority of his college career.
■ Two other returning starters that missed spring practice due to injury, wide receiver Alec Lemon and linebacker Marquis Spruill, will begin practice with the rest of the team on Monday. Both players were named to the All-Big East second team last year.
Lemon set a Syracuse single-season record with 68 catches a year ago. The senior is expected to start opposite Marcus Sales at wide receiver.
Marrone said the Spruill will not start camp at his usual starting middle linebacker spot, rather, he will play outside linebacker.
Marrone stressed that the current depth chart is nothing more than a starting point, and from the first snap on Monday, every spot is up for competition.