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Syracuse football players prepare for start of homestand against Purdue

The Orange are ready for a national audience on Saturday

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Syracuse at UConn

The 2-0 Syracuse Orange have a great opportunity to continue their hot start, as they’ll spend over a month straight at home in Syracuse. We checked in with the group and here’s what they’re feeling before tomorrow’s high noon kickoff:

Mikel Jones

  • “The expectations are just getting higher and higher” after 2-0 start. Main focus is just to not get complacent with the early success.
  • Credits Coach Tony White for preaching the “attack the ball” mentality that has led to forcing five turnovers in the first two games.
  • The team is in full “Protect the Dome” mode with 4-straight home games on their schedule. “We just want to go undefeated in the Dome.”
  • Feels that it’s just as important to get non-conference wins as it is conference wins.

Sean Tucker

  • On the verge of passing Ernie Davis on SU’s all-time rushing list, Tucker said that it feels good to be compared to a “great legend.”
  • Said that Coach Anae gets feedback from different position groups to help adjust on the fly.
  • Credited track for improved speed and technique, and said if he’s still here (for football in 2023), he plans to run track again.
  • Glad that Garrett Shrader is getting some national attention for his performance so far.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Syracuse at UConn

Matthew Bergeron

  • Coaching is a huge reason for quick penalty turnaround between games 1 and 2.
  • The goal is the same as it was to begin the year: get to a bowl game and fight for the ACC Championship.
  • His take on Purdue: a great passing team that struggles with the run, but is also capable of effectively shutting down the run. To beat that, the line has to go back to fundamentals.
  • Team is confident but won’t overlook any opponent.

Courtney Jackson

  • Said that Shrader asks for input from his receivers and that’s how he has grown comfortable with him on the field.
  • New coaching and having a whole offseason with Shrader are also reasons for chemistry and recent success.
  • Talked about how players came in as winners, and had to shake off the feeling of not winning recently. Vets’ feelings “trickle down to everybody who’s in the program,”
  • Run/pass balance makes SU much harder to defend than last season.

Devaughn Cooper

  • West coast to east coast adjustment took some time, but he now feels settled in and is locked in on his job. “Football is football” no matter where he plays it.
  • He knew that Coach Babers had faith in him when he came in without an initial scholarship offer.
  • Team sets deliberate goals in practice and one of them is doing well on this extended homestand.
  • Knows how important the “battle for field position” is, which is why he and so many other starters want to also play on special teams.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Syracuse at UConn

Marlowe Wax

  • Talked about how Aidan O’Connell is the “total opposite” of Malik Cunningham and how the team will plan for a lot of pass plays.
  • Acknowledged that the five turnovers so far “just wasn’t us last season.”

Dan Villari

  • Said that team came to him about potential position change, but the decision was ultimately up to him. Chose to move to TE to help the team now but hasn’t ruled out going back to QB in the future.
  • Other TEs have been a huge help to him in the transition process. Thinks Oronde Gadsden is “one of the best” flex players that he’s seen.

(Ed. note: Had I known he was going to be available we would have asked about a #SendVillari campaign. Won’t happen again)