Spruill, Davis talk changes to LB group

The linebacking core was supposed to be the deepest, most reliable position on the Syracuse defense this season. After all, all three starters were returning and younger players were expected to take a step forward in their development. However, position changes and new roles announced Saturday will shake things up.

With the release of the new depth chart heading into fall camp, there was a surprises in the linebacking group. Marquis Spruill was no longer the man in the middle, as Siriki Diabate now mans that position. Spruill has moved to the outside to take over the position Dyshawn Davis held down all of last season.

During his freshman season, Marquis Spruill was the starting outside linebacker and developed a reputation as a defensive playmaker. He is now moving back to that position, and believes he will have the opportunity to make plays.

"It's really nothing more than a change of placement on the field," Spruill explained. "First I was in the middle now I'm on the outside. The only thing that really changes is the responsibilities. You still get to make the same amount of plays.

"It's just whether you want to work hard to make them. I'm definitely excited about being able to blitz more than last season."

The move means a key contributor from last season will be coming off the bench, and that means competition for playing time.

"That just means everyone's fighting for a spot," declared Spruill. "Everybody should know what they're doing. It just helps us out as far as in a game, if a player goes down or they need a blow, we can sub them in, a person that we actually trust to do their job because we know they can really do it."

Spruill also expressed confidence in Diabate's ability to step into the middle and perform.

"He's a great player," he said. "He works hard, he hustles. He had an excellent spring. During spring he would come ask me, 'Quis what should I do if that happens or this happens' and I'd help him out. He tries to the best of his ability. He takes coaching very well, and he's a really good player."

Davis is taking the news in stride, and is going to continue to compete for a starting spot.

"I talked to Coach (Steve) Morrison and Coach (Scott) Shafer about it in the spring," Davis recalled. "So I knew Marquis was being moved to the outside before camp started. Our goals here's to put the best players on the field, and to get better and compete at a high level. I love Marquis to death. We're all hear to compete at a high level and get better."

"I just continue to take good coaching from Coach Shafer and the linebacker coach have been giving me," Davis continued. "My ability is a good blessing. And I just bring my ability to the defense. I've just been getting stronger and faster and better, so that can correlate and carry on to the field so I can become an even better blitzer."

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