What started as a casually suggested name change on a Syracuse fan website has gained steam and become something entirely bigger than just football. Fans of the Orange were bored with referring to the hybrid position as the H-back, and one poster tossed out the idea of changing the title to the Express Back, in honor of legendary Orange running back Ernie Davis. After a week of gaining a bit of momentum as a Twitter hashtag, a challenge was thrown down that could kick off a new tradition of SU fans giving back.

With head coach Scott Shafer at the ACC Media Days, Orange fan (and stepfather of current freshman linebacker Shy Cullen) John Brewer took to Twitter and told Shafer that if he referred to the position as the “Express Back” in his media day interview, he’d complete 20 hours of community service. Brewer was joined by others in what’s become known as the “‘Cuse Twitter Army” in taking on the challenge.

Normally, you don’t necessarily expect high level football coaches to pay much attention to what’s going on in with the world of Twitter. After all, they have slightly more pressing concerns. But given the impact the ‘Cuse Twitter Army (or #cusetwitterarmy, if you’re savvy to the Twitterverse) has had over the past few months (multiple big time recruits – Robert Washington, Rex Culpepper, and Moe Neal in particular – have mentioned the ‘Cuse Twitter Army as a big part of the appeal of Syracuse), Shafer was game.

That could have been the end of it, and Brewer and a few others could have simply taken on the 20 hours of community service promised without another peep – or even forgotten about the idea entirely, because let’s be honest, the world is full of empty promises and dodged bets. Instead, Brewer and the ‘Cuse Twitter Army took it the other way, introducing the #eXpressback challenge. The idea is simple, really. Syracuse fans who wish to participate can take on five hours of community service and document their work on Twitter using the hashtag #CuseCares, in an effort to both give back to the community and continue to display the passion and high character of not just the staff and players, but also the fans of Syracuse University football.

“I was trying to find a way to get Coach Shafer’s attention,” said Brewer. “How could he ignore the idea of doing charity work just for acknowledging the name? But then when others matched, we started talking about ways to make this something bigger, and asked some of the people in the ‘Cuse Twitter Army to commit to five hours each. We wanted to be able to recognize those that give back, and a way to track the work that’s being done. It’s just another piece of what makes the game of football great. It brings people together and helps out the community, even if you’re not seeing it every day.”

If you’d like to support the cause and enjoy t-shirts and other such items, check out the ‘Cuse Twitter Army store on Zazzle. Any proceeds will be donated to the Ernie Davis Community Center in Elmira.


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