Confidence Still High for Spruill

Marquis Spruill is one of the leaders on the defense. Through the first three games of conference play, his job was easy. The Orange were extremely productive during that stretch. However, over the last two games, the defense has been torched. Spruill spoke to about how to correct those problems heading into the matchup with Louisville.

Syracuse linebacker Marquis Spruill remains a confident man despite the struggles of the Syracuse defense, specifically the run defense, over the last two games. Tackling were a big problem in the loss to Cincinnati, but the Orange are working towards correcting the issues.

"I think it was a little of both missing the tackle and being out of position," Spruill explained. "We had it schemed up but a lot of seams opened up. They gave us a lot of problems. We are in that process of fixing them through our practice. Coach evaluates the schemes and we'll be more crisp. We're getting ready for this Louisville game.

"We looked at the film from the Cincy game and corrected some mistakes. But you've just got to flush it. Just go out and get the next one. That's what we did and that's what we're doing."

Practice makes perfect is the motto for the defense as they look towards facing arguably their most daunting task of the season. Spruill believes Syracuse will come out strong this week.

"Right now it's about playing fast," he outlined. "A lot of times it comes from thinking too much. Thinking about whether you're doing this or that. By the time the hole opens up, it's like ‘oh.' Now it's just about playing fast and just getting it done.

"In practice and meetings we work on things. Everyone's still focused and the confidence is still high. You go out in practice and make sure you have fun. You can't be sour all day and in practice. The more fun you have, the better you get with certain things. You don't put a lot of stress on yourself. We're just going to get better."

Creating turnovers has been something the defense has focused on for weeks. Against Cincinnati, that was a positive for the defense as they forced three Bearcat turnovers. The Orange are continuing to emphasize that going forward.

"Same thing, you know, with strip drills and just running to the ball in case in comes out," Spruill described. "The things we've always been doing."

Turnovers will be critical for Syracuse facing the most talented team in the Big East. Spruill and the Syracuse defense knows the challenge that's ahead.

"They've got some good players," he said. "We've just got to play our game. Just like we did at the beginning of the season. Lights out. Force three and outs, force more turnovers, just play sound defense. We're confident we can do that.

"Having a mobile quarterback always brings another challenge. You play lock down defense and then he runs and gets the first down. It's nothing we have to scheme against we just have to rise up and make plays. That's all we can do….He (Teddy Bridgewater) is always looking to extend the play. Whether it's with his feet running it or faking the run and dumping it off. He's a very smart quarterback.

"Of course we're excited. Any game you play you're excited. It doesn't matter the level of TV, ESPN 3 or whatever. It's a chance to showcase your talent, showcase the team, to the audience. Some are bigger than others. But it's always the same."

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