Chronicling spring football around the country this April, ESPN's been talking to various coaches about how things are going, expectations for this fall and other topics. Today, the ACC Blog's Matt Fortuna got to ask Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer some questions... some of which are more relevant to us than others.
On Terrel Hunt and Offensive Coordinator Tim Lester, Shafer said that Hunt and the other quarterbacks have really bought into what Lester implemented this spring, and you can see the results. He also mentioned Lester "has a really good system in how we analyze the progress with the quarterbacks" -- something I'd like to have heard more about. Nothing here is really all that different from Lester's interview with ESPN a week ago, or Hunt's account of how things have changed prior to the spring game.
On the defensive turnover, some of which Fortuna spoke about at length with Chuck Bullough already:
Here's where Shafer really shares a lot of info -- even if it's not overwhelmingly "new" per se. Among the most important notes...
- "Controlling the controllables" (sorry, had to call out some coach-speak before proceeding)
- Reiterates what you probably knew already: Julian Whigham, Wayne Morgan, Corey Winfield and Antwan Cordy are likely starters in the secondary right now, but he makes sure to praise Cordell Hudson and Juwan Dowels as potential risers on the depth chart. As we've said, this group really has to show up if the Orange are going to stay at the same high level on defense.
- Praised Marqez Hodge and Zaire Franklin at linebacker, and cemented their respective places are starters there. Parris Bennett and Jonathan Thomas are the main contenders for the Sam linebacker spot, which... you probably assumed.
- More Kayton Samuels hype, which should at least make you feel a little better about SU's defensive line situation. Shafer seems confident in the current two-deep at both defensive tackle spots. He's less detailed on the defensive end position, though he does have positive notes about Ron Thompson and Luke Arciniega's respective springs.
Good to hear Shafer speak about a lot of these defensive players in detail, but you'll notice the stark contrast in how much detail that side of the ball gets versus the offensive side. Shafer and Bullough work in tandem to put the defense together and he pays a ton of attention to that side of the ball. Lester, on the other hand, is doing some "great' things over there, and... that's kind of where things end. He had a bit more to say about the Orange offense during this week's ACC teleconference, but overall, it's apparent that Lester has free reign to run his own show over there. TBD if that's going to yield positive results.
The rest of the interview is less-important stuff (for us). Shafer talks about keeping the players away from everything going on with the athletic department right now, and also talks about his friend Jim Harbaugh (from their time at Stanford). So if you're looking for stories about push-up competitions in Northern California... the end of this piece is right in your wheelhouse.
Like I said, nothing we really didn't know already, and a decent amount of coach-speak. Don't know if that's due to a limited number of questions from ESPN or a lack of sharing on Shafer's part. But it's football news. And that's all we can really grasp onto with 132 days to go until kickoff this fall.