One of the surprises of spring was the emergence of redshirt freshman wide receiver Alvin Cornelius, who showed flashes of becoming the playmaker Syracuse is looking for on offense. During the fall, he is focused on trying to turn those flashes into a regular occurrence.
"I think I've done pretty good," Cornelius said. "Some days I was on and there were some days I was off. It was up and down, so now with the game close I just have to be more consistent so I can make more plays."
During Fan Fest, Cornelius caught a seam route from Drew Allen. He made a couple of nice open field moves on his way to a huge gain that drew a roar from the Orange faithful.
"It felt pretty good," Cornelius said. "When I came back to the sideline, my teammates were telling me that the crowd was going crazy. It was a big play. Hopefully more of that happens this year."
As the start of the season is just one day away, Cornelius points to the team's experience at Fort Drum as something that should pay dividends down the road.
"That made us become closer," Cornelius said. "Coach Shafe (Scott Shafer), when we had breakfast he didn't allow us to have our phones out. It allowed us to become more of a team. We got to know some of the guys we didn't know. The seniors were getting to know the freshmen. We became a stronger team and got to know each other more. That should help us."
Still working on his game, it's hard to imagine anyone better for Cornelius to learn from than wide receivers coach Rob Moore.
"Coach Moore is a perfect coach," Cornelius said. "As a receiver, I know that I'm in the right hands. He knows as much as anyone knows. He's been to every level of football. He knows what it takes to be a good athlete and a good receiver. I just follow everything he says. When I don't do things right, he critiques me to try to make me better. Therefore I just have to keep working and try to perfect my craft.
"I'm with the scout team and with the starters. I'm back and forth. Basically coach Moore just told me I have to be more consistent. That's all I'm looking forward to is to be more consistent so I can get out on the field."
When Syracuse runs out onto the MetLife field on Saturday, Cornelius says you can expect an Orange bunch with a chip on their shoulders.
"Everybody's trying to put in our head that they're a better team than us," Cornelius said. "Everybody on the team just knows we can go out and prove something. We keep working hard everyday and all day. We motivate each other to do better. We've been thinking about the Penn State game since the summer time. As a team we've come together and we know what the plan is."