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Syracuse vs. Wake Forest: Scott Shafer Likes The Moxie of These Freshmen

What did Shafer have to say about A.J. Long, Steve Ishmael and Ivan Foy during the coaches teleconference?

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Scott Shafer took part in the ACC Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday. We already know that he said A.J. Long was going to be the starting quarterback for the Syracuse Orange against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons this weekend. Let's find out what else he had to say...

On freshman wide receiver Steve Ishmael:

Steve is doing a great job. Going to be a very good player. Been really pleased with his ability to go make plays in traffic. He's learning the offense well. He's improved at getting off the press coverage that we see week in, week out.

Just a kid that loves football. He's got that gym rat mentality, always working to get better, whether it be extra time on the field or time in the video room. Really happy with Steve and looking forward to coaching him for the next few years.

On freshman quarterback A.J. Long:

He obviously got off to a good start for his first game. Having to do it against the No.1 team in the country was obviously a great challenge. I was really pleased with his steadiness, his ability to just go out and play the game. Very much like Steve Ishmael, another gym rat that loves to play. He's fun to be around on the practice field. During the game he's very energetic and he's got a lot of moxie to him.

On the difference between Long and Terrel Hunt:

Even though AJ and Terrel are different athletically, the difference that AJ and Terrel Hunt bring is the ability to run the ball and make plays with their feet. The strongest attributes that AJ brings to the table starts with his love of the game. He just loves to play. Very competitive. When he's on the move, he has good vision down the field. He can also still give us the design quarterback run plays that cause defenses headaches.

So his ability to be both a runner and a passer, and on top of that it's just that competitive nature because he has such a great passion for the game.

On the value of all the freshmen stepping up:

Obviously AJ Long, Steve Ishmael, Austin Wilson, also a redshirt freshman, Erv Philips. The runningback has given us a lot of productivity both offensively and in the kicking game. Corey Winfield, he's a backup corner right now, but he's been very good in the kicking game as well.

Another kid that jumps out to me is Antwan Cordy. He's another reserve corner. But he's done a nice job in the kicking game. Young man from Homestead, Florida. Then Zaire Franklin, a freshman playing a lot of football. Kicking game, playing more on defense now. Parris Bennett, another freshman, linebacker. Those guys are backing up Cam Lynch and Dyshawn Davis.

On the status of offensive lineman Ivan Foy:

Ivan, he's worked really hard trying to get back, but it's not coming along as fast as anyone would hope. No one more than Ivan wants to be out there.

We have to really look at it week by week with him because it was substantial enough, he's got two areas in his lower leg we're trying to get back. Luckily nothing is going to force us to have surgery or anything like that. It's a lot of healing. When you have two injuries, lower-body injuries, at the same time, it makes it difficult for a kid to amp up his rehab. If it were just one injury, it would be one thing.

Difficult process for Ivan, which is really a shame because he was playing extremely well. He was really becoming the type of right tackle that we thought could be a very good player for this year and the following year.

And while we're here let's see what Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson had to say about Syracuse...

They're a very physical team. They certainly move the ball with a lot more success than we did against Florida State. One of their wideouts made some good plays on the edge. As you'd expect with Coach Shafer, their defense plays hard and those guys compete.

I think the games were very similar except Syracuse was able to put some points on the board late and we weren't able to do that.

The Florida State game is a great reference point for us because we just played them the week before. I think both defenses probably have similar results. They had a lot more success on offense against Florida State than we did.