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Syracuse Football: Scott Shafer & The Angry Six-Inches

You can add "six-inch war" to your Scott Shafer Lexicon.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Shafer stopped by the ACC Coaches Teleconference on Tuesday, mostly because he's contractually-obligated to, and had some things to say. We parsed it all to pick out the best Shaferisms and other tidbits, as there always are when Shafer speaks.

Scott Shafer is really focused on getting to six inches, you guys.

The first two weeks of the season are always when you make your biggest improvements. The thing I looked at coming out of this game is that we didn’t win enough of the ‘six-inch wars’. I knew it was going to be a fourth quarter game and in those you have to win the war of six inches. What I mean by that is, offensively we had five drops and in two or three inches we could make those catches and turn them into big plays and the chains keep moving. Defensively we had nine missed tackles, which from the outside looking in isn’t bad. We always talk about 10 missed tackles for under 50 yards is a pretty good day. But if we make two or three, if we lay out and that six inches makes a guy fall down, it changes the outcome of the game. During the game you don’t realize how big that is on any one particular play."

"The upside is, defensively I was proud of the way the kids came up with four turnovers. On third down we were excellent, 94 percent of the time we got off the field and we had eight three-and-outs throughout the course of the game. I was pleased with those things but there were still six-inch wars we left out on the field, defensively."

Coach, school us in the importance of not turning the ball over...

"We always talk about if we are plus two in the turnover ratio we’re going to be in a good position to win. In a 10 year study, in 84 percent of games won the team that ended up with the victory was the team that won in that category. If you are plus two, then it’s 84 percent and if you are plus three you win about 96 percent of your games. Even though we had four turnovers, you cannot give up three."

Shafe says he still kept some training wheels on the SU offense last week and will change that:

We played it close to the vest and now I need to take those handcuffs off of (offensive coordinator) Coach McDonald and just let him go. We’re excited to get into some of that game planning as we move forward to Northwestern."

I think this might be code for rendition, but I'm not sure:

We had one spell there where we got a little bit soft and we are addressing those types of things.

Talking about Adrian Flemming, Shafer has this week's Out Of Context Football Soundbyte That Sounds Super-Creepy:

He’s a very hard working kid and has strong hands, a big body. I’ve been pleased with the ways he has developed.

On last year's Northwestern game:

"We could have beaten Northwestern last year. We had a handful of plays here and there that hurt us we have to do a really good job in our kicking game to contain a really good return man. We can’t give them hidden yardage in the kicking game and we have to improve on things both on offense and on defense."