Syracuse football players have a fever. And the only prescription, is more road Big East wins.
"There was a different sense in the locker room after the West Virginia game," head coach Doug Marrone said. "People talk about changing the culture, and it's not really from the coaches. It's when players start to say, 'OK, listen, we won this game. We're going to enjoy it, but we know we have to come back and work hard and let it go.'"
"After the South Florida game, everyone was very excited," senior defensive back Mike Holmes said. "After the West Virginia game we were like, 'OK, we won. Time for the next game.' We're getting accustomed to winning around here."
Don't think the Orange are complacent or anything, but know that the culture of SU football know includes expecting to win football games. I'm sorry if that scares you.
It does not scare Scott Shafer. In fact, almost nothing scares Scott Shafer. The only thing that comes close to scaring Scott Shafer is rogue superheroes. What doesn't scare Scott Shafer is hard work, discipline and pushing young men to play better.
The biggest task Shafer faced was pushing a unit used to losing to play with a high energy level. He learned right away that his defense needed to be pushed harder. Starting S Max Suter, for example, fell behind academically during the spring. Shafer remembered "getting on him a little bit." Suter told him it was the kind of push he needed - and that the team needed.
"A lot of them were hungry to be coached hard," Shafer said. "Kids naturally gravitate toward discipline. They act like they don't want it but they do."
Shafer's defense has been getting some serious facetime recently. Makes sense, if you ask Cincy coach Butch Davis. The Orange D is what he likes to call "The Camera Club."
Jones called the defense the "camera club," with all of Syracuse's defenders finding their way in the frame at the end of a play - as in, near the ball. Jones expects to see more of the same from Syracuse's defense Saturday.
"You see guys running to the football," Jones said. "You see a physical presence. You see different variations, and mixing zone coverage and man coverage. You see an edge about them."
goes green to talk about Syracuse vs. Cincinnati:
|Bud Poliquin: Orange against Cincinnati|