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Syracuse football players anticipating new-look Army team

We heard from a rep of all three units this week.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 16 Syracuse at Purdue Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Many Syracuse Orange football fans are eagerly awaiting this weekend’s chance to start 4-0 for the second straight season. With ACC play looming, this trio of players spoke with the media about this Saturday’s high-noon showdown with the still-Independent Army Black Knights:

Garrett Shrader

  • On LeQuint Allen’s versatility as a runner and pass catcher: “He’s a matchup nightmare.”
  • Impressed with right tackle Mark Petry, who he says has been one of the hardest-working members of the team.
  • Shrader loves the jumbo run package that the Orange have been employing on the goal line this season and sees the team continuing to run it.
  • Noted his respect for Army: West Point is extremely difficult to get in to, and those who are accepted build up a lot of discipline through their rigorous training.

D’Marcus Adams

  • Adams began training to become the return specialist in fall camp, getting plenty of help from Trebor Pena. He previously returned some kicks at Florida Atlantic but this is his first time working as a punt returner as well. The decision to try him out in both spots was a mutual one between Adams and coaches.
  • The main difference between the two roles is staying with your lead blocker on kickoffs versus just getting whatever immediate gain you can on a punt. He admitted that he’s still teaching himself to take a fair catch on shorter punts.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 09 Western Michigan at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • On Shrader’s trick plays against Purdue: “He’s a(n absolute) magician... We were as surprised as everybody else.”
  • Army plays a lot of Cover 4 and Cover 6 defense (both very much meant to counter the spread-style offense which the Orange employ). While those formations take away most deep shots, as long as the outside receivers are drawing attention from the safeties, there should be room for the short-range passing game over the middle.

Isaiah Johnson

  • On SU’s four takeaways, six-total turnover performance against Purdue: “That’s the thing about this defense. We all want to make a play. We all want those big moments. We all want the ball to come our way and we want to be called upon so when it does, we can make the play and we can get our shine on TV and everything.”
  • “You gotta be happy with our performance so far. It’s always a good feeling to be 3-0 and looking forward to 4-0.”
  • He and Jeremiah Wilson approach each game with the goal of being the best cornerback duo in the country, relying on one another’s energy to stay engaged.
  • On his tackling technique: “You know, it doesn’t matter how big you are. If you get hit below the waist and in the leg area, you’re probably gonna go down.”