The Syracuse Orange kick off against the Florida State Seminoles down in Tallahassee in just two days. With that in mind we get to hear from both teams' coaches, Scott Shafer and Jimbo Fisher, respectively, as they preview Saturday's matchup. No surprises, really. But always interesting to listen to this type of feedback from the coaches -- especially as they start discussing their opponents.
First up during Wednesday's ACC Football Coaches Teleconference was Fisher:
"...We play a very good Syracuse team. Very multiple in their defensive fronts. A lot of blitzing, a lot of packages they bring to the table. Offensively the young quarterback is doing a great job. Makes good plays.
The receivers are doing a tremendous job, making jump-ball catches, making plays down the field. Triple option stuff like we faced at Georgia Tech last week. Scott (Shafer) is doing a really nice job with those guys. They had some touch loses, very close in those games. Lost some tough ballgames, just like we did last week. Lost on a last-second field goal..."
You talked a little bit about the Syracuse triple option just now. What can you say about it, how it varies from Georgia Tech?
"It's varied, but it's similar in some areas, too. They do different formations and different personnel groups. They throw the football more with the things they do. Still a lot of the same principles that you have to apply in how you play certain parts of that option and what they do. They do a very nice job with it."
As far as what you've seen from Eric Dungey on film, I mean he's leapt over players, not afraid to get hit.
"He is that. He's a tough sucker now. He can run the ball, he can throw it, makes all the plays. Not afraid of contact. I think he likes contact, feeds off of it. He does a nice job. Very dynamic player for them. Makes plays."
Soon after, Shafer received his own questions:
Scott, Parris Bennett, what he's been able to do to be there in his second year leading the team in tackles, what can you say about how vital he's been to the defense so far?
"Sure. Parris has gotten better throughout the course of his time here. Obviously he still has two and a half more years of football in front of him, so we're excited about his progress as well as the rest of the young guys.
When I look at it, we got about 68% of our tackles are from kids that are going to be here for the next three and a half to three years, two and a half years. Underclassmen that I think are going to be very good players. He's one of those guys.
Like all of them, we need to continue to get better, need to do a better job anticipating the ball coming out and playing a little bit quicker and sharper.
But I am excited about the progress of those young players. Never as fast as you want it to be, but I'm looking forward to seeing those kids continue to develop the second half of the season."
Offensively a little bit earlier Jimbo Fisher referred to Eric Dungey as an inspirational person for your team. What can you say about how you view that and how he is an inspirational leader? When the losses come, what you can say about how he plays the game to bring guys around him?
"Sure. Eric does a good job playing with all his heart and gusto, I guess you would say. He's fun to coach, like so many of these newbies that are in the program.
We're just trying to fight our tails off to try to continue to get better daily. We'll have a challenge at Florida State. But our kids will continue to fight with all their heart.
Eric does that. At that position, it gets noticed more so than some of the others. But we got a lot of guys playing that way. They're a joy to coach right now. Just got to keep getting better."
Last year you played Golson when he was with Notre Dame. This year he's with Florida State. What is the difference this year with the quarterback?
"Well, he's a year older. He's in a different system. Very talented, athletic young man. Has a big arm. Can hurt you with his feet as well as his arm.
But very talented player. One of the first guys I've seen complete passes with both hands, both right and left. I think more than anything, just a great athlete."
What are the three keys for you to beat Florida State if you were an analyst?
"Score more points than them, limit them to fewer points than we have, and play with great attitude, enthusiasm and effort."
They're obviously a terrific team. Are they any more dangerous coming off a loss, which is rare for them, than they would be if they just kept on winning?
"You know, I have no idea. We'll see how they play Saturday. Like you said, very talented team. But those types of things, I'm not sure how to answer those.
I'm sure they'll be prepared well because Coach Fisher is a great football coach. He's got a great staff. He'll have his players prepared to play."
They got one of the nation's premiere running backs, Dalvin Cook. Anything in particular you can do to prepare for him?
"Well, you know, nothing more than prepare for the tendencies they put on tape. Got to do a great job tackling, gang tackling. Got to get as many hats to the football as possible.
As you know, he's got great vision. Does a great job bringing the ball back against the grain. Also has the ability to bounce it and take it to the house that way. About every game he's been in this year, he's had plays, one or more, of over 20 yards, which is extremely impressive, especially at tailback.
They throw the ball to him out of the backfield as well. He's got the ability to make plays in space. We'll have to do a good job knowing where he is all the time."
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