Making Lemonade out of (Alec) Lemon

The Syracuse offense has had two straight poor performances. Despite that, their confidence level is high heading into a battle against the top defensive team in the conference. spoke with wide receiver Alec Lemon about preparing for Rutgers and being the all-time receptions leader in school history.

Senior wide receiver Alec Lemon is finally back in the flow of the offense. An early injury set back the start of his season. Now that he's back, he is looking to help the Orange offense get back to early season form.

Recently, Lemon broke the Syracuse school record for career receptions. It's an honor that means a lot, especially considering who has played for the Orange before him.

"It's something special," Lemon said. "Not even just to break the record, but to be on a list with those special guys who had great careers here and great careers in the NFL.

"If I can match what they did and set the bar high, then the receivers coming in after me can break the record."

One of the things the offense had been working on was a fast start. They got that last week with a touchdown on their opening drive. Unfortunately, that was their only score of the game. Lemon believes they can correct mistakes and get back to the rhythm they had on that drive.

"It starts in practice," he explained. "We have to make sure our tempo is high every team period. Even individually to make sure we're going 100 miles per hour. Our emphasis was to start out fast, which we did.

"But we didn't keep that tempo up. That comes on the offense. We have to talk to each other as a group on the sideline to make sure everyone's up and ready to go."

Despite those struggles, the offense's confidence level is high. Lemon believes the offense can still put up a lot of points.

"We got some confidence," he declared. "We have a great offense. We keep killing ourselves with turnovers and penalties. Those are slowing down the offense. We have to take it upon ourselves to make sure the tempo is high every play. And if we do that we can win."

The offense did get some reinforcements back last week. Returning from injury was left tackle Justin Pugh, the leader of the offensive line. Lemon believes that was big for that game and going forward.

"It's great," he stated. "Not just on the field but off the field. He's one of my roommates and he's a great guy. Everyone's confident in him. Having him back, he's a great player.

"He's a captain out there. He tells everyone what to do. He sees certain things on the offensive line and makes the calls to them. They communicate great, but they communicate better with Pugh out there."

From the friendly confines of the Carrier Dome to a hostile road environment against a ranked opponent. The Orange certainly have their work cut out for them. The senior receiver says it all starts with preparation.

"We prepare the same," Lemon said. "It doesn't change. We just have to get used to the fact that there's people that are going to be yelling when we're on offense. That's one of the things we have to adjust to. But we prepare every week, the same every time."

A win this week would be huge for the Orange. A road win against a ranked opponent would put the team's confidence at an all-time high. That fact isn't lost on Lemon.

"Our confidence is high but we're looking to boost it even more," he said. "It puts us right on track with our goals. Our goal is to win the Big East and if we get this, we'll be 2-0."

Lemon added that despite wearing the non-contact jersey this week, he is healthy and will be 100% when Syracuse faces Rutgers at noon on Saturday.

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