Posted by Chip Patterson
Injured safety Phillip Thomas, one of the leaders of the Syracuse defense is finally getting back to 100 percent and should be ready to play when the Orange open their season against Wake Forest on Thursday.
Thomas told the Syracuse Post-Standard he has been able to practice with no pain after breaking his jaw during practice earlier this month. He has been with the team in a non-contact role for the last couple weeks, helping in a mentor role to underclassmen like Jeremi Wilkes and Durell Eskridge.
"Right now, I'm back in a helmet and I'm doing pretty good," Thomas said. "I'm about 95 percent."
Thomas was the third-leading tackler on the defense last year, behind graduated all-conference linebackers Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue, and will be looked to as a defensive leader along with fellow safety Shamarko Thomas. Head coach Doug Marrone confirmed that he expected both players to start against Wake Forest during the Big East coaches teleconference on Monday.
Opening the season against an ACC team in the Carrier Dome will give Syracuse a chance to reverse some disappointing trends against the conference. Since 1996 the Orange are 1-12 against ACC opponents, and winless (0-8) in the Carrier Dome.