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Syracuse football: Orange players prepare for UConn after opening week win

Confidence levels are high following a dominant outing over Louisville

NCAA Football: Louisville at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

The 1-0 Syracuse Orange football squad will make their first road trip of the season (and only one before the bye) this weekend to play UConn. Here’s the latest from six Orange players ahead of the matchup:

Garrett Shrader

  • Said that penalties are the biggest thing that SU needs to clean up. If they can do that, the team “will do big things.”
  • Gave credit to Coach Mike Schmidt for setting up Sean Tucker with favorable matchups all game.
  • Shrader “would throw the ball every play” if he could, but understands how important the run game still is.
  • Making Adjustments: Garrett is still not afraid to put his body on the line in close yardage plays but is ok sliding down early to avoid the hits when a first down is clearly out of reach. It’s a better strategy for someone who should still be scrambling a few times a game.
  • On the loss of Chris Elmore: “He’s a really good run blocker and... a guy we were hoping to have some big plays in the pass game too.” The team will take time to adjust.
  • On Max Mang: “He’s got to step up even more, but he’s been doing a great job.”
  • Pre-snap motions were a big reason for success against Louisville. Their failure to adjust “caused chaos.”

Sean Tucker

  • Loud Dome crowd “messed up” Louisville offense and was a great help for SU.
  • On his first pleasing performance of the season: “I’ve just got to keep a humble mind, keep putting in the work, keep grinding.”
  • “I knew that we were ready for the competition. We can play anybody in the ACC.”
  • “I’d say there’s a bit of an advantage having a hard opponent, starting out hard and getting that win.”
  • “Next man up” mentality with Elmore out.
  • Said that LeQuint Allen looked good in his first few snaps. He’s been getting more reps in practice.
  • Every game is its own challenge; not taking any opponent lightly.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 03 Louisville at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Chris Bleich

  • Said that o-line did a good job protecting Shrader, but also credited his decision making for much of the offensive success. Only two sacks allowed, but “has to be zero.”
  • Did not feel that pre-snap motions affected the line. Penalties were mainly due to miscommunication and falling for Cardinal players imitating the snap count. Bleich knows that UConn will try to use the same tactic.
  • Felt comfortable moving back to the right side, where he played for Florida.
  • Chris has no current issues with his knees and feels fully recovered from injuries.
  • Trusts the tight ends to help make up for Rhino’s blocking. Mang is “a student of the game” and is understanding situations better than last year, thanks to Coach Schmidt.

Garrett Williams

  • Mentioned the postgame locker room atmosphere. “it’s good to see all the hard work pay off.”
  • Stefon Thompson’s injury is unfortunate but “something that comes with the game.”
  • “Obviously you’re not prepared to lose two stars, let alone one... but it can happen at any given time”
  • Derek McDonald “came in ready” and performed well.
  • On trick pass play and catching Louisville receiver: “Mistakes happen. I was happy that I was able to cover it up as much as possible and give us a chance to play defense, and I’m glad I did it because we got the stop.”
  • Said it was good to see others in the defensive rotation. “They deserve those opportunities.”
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 03 Louisville at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Derek McDonald

  • “(The interception) was pretty crazy. I’m still not really sure what happened.”
  • “I take pride in knowing my responsibility, knowing what the offense is going to be doing.”
  • Not going to take UConn lightly; won’t fall into the trap of relaxing after a big win.
  • Came to Syracuse in the first place for Newhouse’s BDJ program (Shoutout to a fellow Mafia member). That with this football program made for a “perfect combo.”

Elijah Clark

  • Said he “didn’t have the words” to describe the Dome crowd. “There’s no comparison between Rutgers and the Dome experience.”
  • Reiterated that friendship with Duce (Chestnut) is the main reason why he chose SU in the transfer portal.
  • Focused heavily on learning the playbook in training camp to be prepared for the opening game.
  • Veterans have been very helpful with teaching communication.