Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill loves physical match-ups. That's exactly what he will be getting this week against a ranked Rutgers squad. He spoke to CuseNation.com about that, the defense improving since week one, and more.
"It feels great getting back in the win column," Spruill said. "But it just makes you want more. So we're still hungry."
That hunger has allowed the defense to improve from two straight games allowing over 40 points, to three straight games allowing fewer than 20 points. He believes they are ready to continue that improvement.
"It begins during practice, you know," the junior linebacker explained. "We're just being more physical, more tuned in to what we're supposed to be doing. We're more disciplined, and so far it's worked out good for us."
One of the biggest plays in the win over Pittsburgh was Dyshawn Davis' fumble return for a touchdown. Marquis Spruill had an interesting perspective on that play being on the other side of the field.
"I'm going to break it down to you like this," Spruill said with a smile. "If I was closer to him, I definitely would have tried to pick up a block. I was on the backside and I'm not trying to get a penalty. So I just did this (holds his hands up for a touchdown signal) and cheering. Just cheering. He scored the touchdown, and it took me a while to get over there. I was tired. We celebrated and sat on the bench."
After facing a physical running game last week, a more physical rushing attack looms as the Orange prepare for the Scarlet Knights. Spruill is ready for the challenge and looks forward to match-ups like this.
"Oh yeah, definitely," he said. "We get our pads cracking and helmet clashing. That's just what real football is. The passing game isn't my deal. but the run game, I love it.
"Our confidence is very high. I can tell with the practices from yesterday and earlier today. We had good, good tempo and everybody knew their assignments."
Spruill said you should expect another Pitt-like performance this week.
One thing Spruill was looking forward to with his move to the outside was being able to blitz more. That has not happened so far this season. He is hoping he is called to do that against Rutgers.
"I don't know," Spruill stated. "I just have to wait until coach (Scott) Shafer calls my number. You know. I'm ready. And I want to so bad."
Spruill knows a win this week would be huge. It would allow Syracuse to get back to .500, and move to 2-0 in the conference.
"It would be big for us," he said. "A real confidence booster. It would bring us one step closer to winning the Big East championship and get to a bowl game."