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Syracuse football: players look ahead to showdown in Pittsburgh

The Orange regroup ahead of their trip to the Steel City

Virginia v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

It’s all conference games from this point on for the Syracuse Orange. This week, they’ll continue the program’s longest continuous series by facing the Pitt Panthers (a rivalry that allegedly only exists in basketball). Hear from some ‘Cuse players before they try to snap a two-game skid:

Ja’Had Carter

  • Team has to “pick up the slack” without Garrett Williams down the stretch.
  • The next-man-up mentality remains: “Gotta buy into what we do.”
  • Still having Garrett in the locker room is “like adding another coach.” Said his leadership combined with being a “down to Earth, funny guy” is what makes him so special.
  • Talked about the Mob Podcast and how it’s a big deal for him personally to give the fans some insight on what players are like off the field.

Mikel Jones

  • After back-to-back losses: “We still know who we are and what we work towards.”
  • On Williams being out for the season: “There’s really no message... This is his last year. He’s my roommate, that’s my boy. It’s hard to talk about.
  • Since he and Garrett both came back for one more run with SU, the injury gives Mikel “all the motivation” to finish the job on behalf of both of them.
  • Said it’d be a “very big” confidence booster to get a win against Pitt and end up 2-2 in the “gauntlet” portion of the schedule.
Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Bryan Bennett/Getty Images

Jeremiah Wilson

  • On playing as a true freshman: “It’s been really cool. You know, my whole my whole goal this year was to just help the team win... I’ve been studying hard behind Garrett and Isaiah Johnson and Duce.”
  • “My whole goal is just to be the best DB to ever play.
  • “(In fall training camp,) the 1s really stepped up and really helped us. Instead of just being selfish about focusing on going to the league, they actually took us under their wing.”
  • With Garrett out, he’s not feeling any pressure. “I’m ready to play this Saturday.”

Caleb Okechukwu

  • The Biggest Lesson taken from Clemson and Notre Dame? Finishing off opponents in the 4th quarter. “We get back to doing that, and I think we’ll be alright.”
  • Said it was good to see Jatius Geer pick up a sack last game after putting in a lot of work this year.
  • Has “a lot of faith” in Isaiah Johnson to step in for Garrett.
  • On heading into Pitt: “We’re not worried about the past. Just focus on this right now.
Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images

Courtney Jackson

  • Courtney is from the Pittsburgh metro area and will have family in attendance this week. They weren’t able to see him play in 2020 due to COVID. “It’s obviously exciting to get back out there.”
  • “I think every game we looked at this year as being a winnable game, and every team is beatable.”
  • On Carlos Del-Rio Wilson’s performance: “I think he played well. It wasn’t a surprise to us, at least, what Carlos could do.”
  • Receivers need to “keep perfecting their craft” and trust that it will help them get the ball.

Oronde Gadsden

  • There are two big differences between Shrader and CDRW: their arm angles (“the way the ball comes out”) and the timing on trying to catch their passes. “Shrader throws a little softer, and Carlos rockets it in there.”
  • “I thought (CDRW) did really good. If we would have had less drops, me included, the stats probably would have looked way better. The drives would have gone on longer.”
  • More on the redshirt freshman QB: “I liked that he was spreading the ball around... definitely giving other receivers opportunities.” Good on the No. 1 for being humble and not wanting all the targets for himself.
  • “We practice with every quarterback, and we have confidence with every quarterback. We trust them, whoever comes in.”

NOTE: QBs Garrett Shrader and Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, and RB Sean Tucker, were not available to the media this week.