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ACC Network analysts Eric Mac Lain, Eddie Royal share their thoughts on Syracuse football:

The two former ACC football players are in town to cover the matchup against FSU

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 28 CFP Semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl - Clemson v Ohio State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange will look to turn things around against the #25 Florida State Seminoles tonight at 8. Before that happens, the ACC Network is hosting some of their weekly football shows right here on the SU campus. Members of the press were given a chance to talk to two of the analysts visiting the Salt City: Eric Mac Lain and Eddie Royal, who played their college ball at Clemson and Virginia Tech, respectively. Here’s what they had to say:

Eric Mac Lain

College Football Playoff National Championship - Media Day Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
  • “That (Syracuse) defense was so fun to watch at the beginning of the season when everybody was healthy... It’s something that is so hard to target, that 3-3-5 where you have so many athletes all over the field.” Added that “when Syracuse linebackers are healthy, they’re some of the best in the entire country.
  • “You’re playing the fourth heavy running team in a row with Florida State coming to town. Got to make some changes, have to make some adjustments, and I’m sure they will.”
  • FSU: “One of the hottest teams in the country, not just the (ACC), and they’re feeling really good... they had a really tough stretch, kind of similar to what Syracuse is going through right now, but they had a great bounce back.”
  • On Sean Tucker: “There’s nothing wrong with just an inside zone... at the end of the day, you have to use that young man. He’s too good to only have 10 touches a game.”
  • SU’s 6-0 start came out of nowhere and was an unbelievable start: “The fact that this team is going bowling is an exceptional accomplishment, especially for the seniors. Some of those guys have dealt with the season where they won one game, to now getting to play in postseason. That means a lot.
  • Noted Dino Babers’s poor record in November and how it will be up to the senior leaders like Mikel Jones to turn that around.
  • If Carlos Del Rio-Wilson starts: “I think it's important to let him get quick early. Like run a quarterback power, run a quarterback zone read... I hear from quarterbacks all the time, ‘After I get that first hit, ok, it’s on. We’re ready to go.’”
  • More on CDRW: “Get the ball out quick. Don’t let him go through a bunch of reads and hold onto the ball. Get the ball out of his hands, let him see himself making some completions, and then we can open up the playbook a little more.”

Eddie Royal

ACC Championship - Virginia Tech v Boston College Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images
  • On the 6-0 start: “Dino has done a great job... I didn’t expect that much from him, and he came out hot, especially that first game. That Louisville game was a statement game for them, kind of came out and showed the type of team that they were going to be.”
  • “We knew (SU) had players. We knew Sean Tucker was one of the best backs in the country. But Garrett Shrader, that transformation that he made? Robert Anae has done a great job coming in, implementing that offense.”
  • “Whenever your No. 1 receiver (Oronde Gadsden) doesn’t have a catch, you know that it’s hard for an offensive coordinator to sleep at night... He’s going to be targeted early and often.”
  • More on OG: “You got one of the best receivers in the ACC. Kind of came out of nowhere. And he’s one of those guys that could change the game; just throw it up to him.
  • On Tucker: You got to hand it to him 15+ times a game, but then you go to throw him screens. You got to give him the ball in space, even lining him up in the slot if you want to.”
  • “Stopping the run was the main issue for Syracuse the last couple of weeks. In that 3-3-5, when you’re a little bit undersized up front, it puts a lot of pressure on those linebackers. So they’re all going to have to have a really good day.”
  • CDRW needs to get back to the basics: “It’s still football, you know? Something you’ve been doing your entire life. When you have your first start, nerves are rolling. You don’t really know what to expect... If he’s the guy (to start), he has the arm talent to do it. So he’s just got to calm down a little bit.”
  • “When you’re playing with a young quarterback, communication is key. So coming back after every play, telling him what you see (as a WR), making sure he’s comfortable with what you're doing and that you’re doing everything that you need to do for him.”

Thank you to both Eric and Eddie for taking a few minutes with us yesterday.

Do you agree with their assessments of Syracuse football? Let us know in the comments.