We’ve all been getting pretty excited about the latest installment of HBO’s acclaimed series Hard Knocks, because we’re so obsessed with football that even the prospect of listening to the nagging reality TV star wife of a player we’re only vaguely familiar with is more palatable than a show without any gridiron action. This year, we as Syracuse fans are even more excited because two former Orangemen, Jerome Smith and Marquis Spruill, are trying to land spots on the Atlanta roster.
So, how did Jerome and Marquis do in the first episode? Well to put it in football terms, it was a quick three and out for our two guys, who barely got any screen time in the opener. Instead, most of the show was dedicated to guys like Steven Jackson and Kroy Biermann – he of the annoying reality TV family – as well as rookie running back Devonta Freeman. Freeman has his own Syracuse connection, having grown up basically as brothers with Syracuse safety Durell Eskridge.
Both Smith and Spruill could be quickly spotted in a few sequences, though they were shut out of both the rookie check-in and rookie talent show segments of the episode. Smith got plenty of screen time in one scene, though it was because he happened to be standing next to Steven Jackson as Jackson made a great speech in an effort to form some solidarity with his fellow running backs. Smith could also be seen during a couple drills, though Spruill wasn’t quite as fortunate.
Spruill could be spotted wearing his #51 jersey in a sequence that saw fellow rookie linebacker Jacques Smith getting into a fight on the field, and later got a close up of his face while the players were listening to the coaches, but his name was never given on the screen.
One upstate New York football product did get a solid amount of screen time, even if it was only Jeff Mathews, the former Cornell quarterback and fellow rookie trying to earn a spot on the roster. Mathews sang a horrible version of a country song during the “talent” segment of the show.
Next week should hopefully give Spruill and Smith some face time, though, as Spruill and fellow rookie Ra’Shede Hageman (you may remember him as a defensive lineman on the Minnesota team that SU beat in the Texas Bowl) went swimming with sharks yesterday, with Smith tagging along to post photos to Instagram. If a couple of rookies diving with sharks can’t get on Hard Knocks, frankly I’m just not sure what can.
Maybe they’ll get enough screen time next week that we can officially start calling the show Hard Nosed, eh?