clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Syracuse football veterans check in before matchup with Western Michigan

These 3 former transfers should all play major roles throughout the 2023 season.

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

Syracuse Orange football couldn’t have started the season much better than they did in their Week 1 shutout of Colgate. With very few pressing concerns heading into the upcoming #MACtion (can we still call it that?), let’s recap what several vets are thinking early in the season:

Alijah Clark

  • On the opening-weekend shutout: “It’s the Mob! We’re just showing people we back... a lot of people thought we would drop off because we lost a lot of great players, but as you guys see, the twos come in and make plays. This has been happening; it’s a tradition in Syracuse football.”
  • Had big praise for Rocky Long’s system, crediting the new DC for his nationally ranked performance on Saturday. “I got his back and he’s got mine.” Said he’s an expert at disguising pre-snap motion on the defensive side.
  • The biggest difference from last season is playing a bigger role in coverage.
  • The Safeties have an emphasis on run defense this season after the defense as a whole struggled against it last year.
  • “We’re not the biggest team, we’re not the best, but we outwork everybody to be the most physical team on the field at all times.”
  • On his relationship with Justin Barron: “I’m not gonna say ‘like my brother,’ he is my brother! He keeps me calm... I am a very emotional player. I do play with a lot of passion. Justin’s the guy to take me aside and say ‘you got this.’”

Chris Bleich

  • Coach Beck's “hurry-up” offense has been very promising to start.
  • Acknowledged his early mistakes - “The film showed me I can’t (false start) two times in two drives.” - but thinks that the offensive line overall showed good potential.
  • “Knock on wood, but my body feels the best it ever has.” (I aggressively banged my desk after typing that.)
  • On playing with four new o-line starters: “I was talking to our old center Carlos (Vettorello) and Dakota Davis. It’s a weird feeling, looking over to each side, and it’s different than I’ve been with for the past four years... but I think we’re finally gelling together.”
Notre Dame v Syracuse Photo by Isaiah Vazquez/Getty Images
  • Moving back to the left side of the line, where he last played in 2021, was an easy transition.
  • On why he launched a podcast over the summer: “It’s kind of a way just to reach out, letting (others with injuries) know I’m here for you if you ever need to talk to someone about it, because I don’t think people realize the mental struggles for going through an injury and the toll it takes on you.”

Garrett Shrader

  • Throwing arm elbow felt great during his first game back from surgery.
  • On possibly using his legs more: There’s a time and place for everything, just do whatever you need to do to win.
  • Still figuring out how to best utilize LeQuint Allen’s abilities; just like Oronde Gadsden last week, he called him a high-energy player.
  • Donovan Brown has a “true receiver mentality” with his speed and hands. He’s not afraid to take a hit after making a catch.