After back-to-back losses to the Clemson Tigers and North Carolina Tar Heels, Syracuse Orange football will face its toughest test yet this weekend, on the road against the #4 Florida State Seminoles. Players from both the offensive and defensive ends discussed how the team will look to overcome the recent skid:
- On the defense’s approach to the Florida State game: “We can’t wait to start fast anymore. We can’t wait... we have to come out. There’s no more excuses, there’s no more adjustments. We just need to get it done.”
- Okechukwu brought up the main difference between facing off against UNC’s Drake Maye and FSU’s Jordan Travis — while both are agile and mobile quarterbacks, Travis tends to rely more on his legs compared to Maye. Okechukwu emphasized the defense needing to contain the pocket and get more tackles for losses.
- On the team knowing about the difficult Clemson/UNC/FSU slate: “You can’t help but look at the schedule... you can’t run from it. But at the same time with a schedule like that, you got to take it one day at a time and one game at a time because if you don’t, you’re gonna get caught up.”
- On Syracuse Athletics and NIL:
“I think we’re in a better place than we were last year, but I definitely feel like there’s definitely room for improvement... they’ve done a great job of taking care of, you know, players on the team, but I think with time and with them understanding how important it is in today’s society I think more resources (are needed).”
- On the current state of the team’s offensive identity: “We have identity, it’s just a matter of going out and executing. And so that’s what we’re gonna do, we’re putting guys in position to make plays.”
- Shrader said the offense will look to do a better job building consistency, specifically through securing more first downs on drives. He also personally acknowledged his need to cut down on costly turnovers.
- On his personal adjustment following a offseason shoulder procedure on his throwing arm: “it’s a new normal.”
- Alford right from the jump said the UNC game wasn’t a great performance from the wide receiver group and emphasized needing to cut down on mistakes and stay mentally focused — “Us as a receiver core, we push each other every day, we make sure that we keep our head up to not let anything affect us.”
- Alford said his biggest need is to address his lack of consistency mainly with catching and secondarily with blocking.
- Lots of positive things to say about receiver Umari Hatcher: “fantastic” and “mentally-ready” were among the phrases used. He also praised Hatcher’s growth off the field, communication and overall dedication and intensity.