Kirkland and Spruill talk Georgia Tech

Syracuse (3-3, 1-1) looks to notch it's second ACC win against Georgia Tech (3-3, 2-2) on the road Saturday. Linebackers Josh Kirkland and Marquis Spruill talk to about the defense, staying disciplined against the triple option and more inside.


Stick to the game plan.

Do your job.

Those are just a few simple phrases that have been the staples for the Syracuse defense this season. The game plan won't differ much according to linebackers Marquis Spruill and Josh Kirkland versus Georgia Tech.

"We are doing the same thing," Spruill said. "We are just doing our job. Same type of defense, same coaches... we are just doing our job."

Spruill's job last weekend against North Carolina State included nine total tackles, bringing his total to 36 on the year.

Syracuse will be introduced to Georgia Tech's infamous triple-option, a style of offense that coach Scott Shafer and company have been preparing for since the summer. The offense itself requires the defense to exercise discipline, something that Spruill says can be really difficult.

"It's very hard," Spruill said. "Coming from practice I see things that I feel like I can go get but I can't. I have to understand my job. You feel like you have to be that guy to make every play but in a game like this, you have 10 other guys out there and they have to do their job as well. You have to play as a unit."

The biggest takeaway from Georgia Tech's tricky offense?

"They cut a lot. I think I will have to buy some shinguards or something," Spruill quipped.

Syracuse has also been having success capitalizing on third downs. The Orange, thus far, have contained its opponents to just 10-of-33 (roughly 30 percent) when running on third down. Through the air? The unit has limited its nemesis to eight-of-39 (20.5 percent)

"We treat third down as our money down where we make all our money," Kirkland said. "It's the most important down... well, I wouldn't say it's the most important down because every down is important but we put more emphasis on that down. We just need to get off the field and let our offense take over."

Since arriving on campus, Kirkland has been a solid addition for the Orange when it comes to the linebackers. The JUCO transfer already has 22 tackles, good for fourth on the team.

"Always room for improvement," Kirkland said. "I don't know what I would grade myself. That's for the coaches. I would say good so far. I'm just trying to get better everyday... I try not to think about it. I just try and improve myself one step at a time."

Spruill, on the other hand, gives the team a solid B for its midseason report card.

"We still have some things that everybody needs to get down to a T" Spruill said. " We need to make sure everyone knows exactly what they're doing and when they're supposed to do it."

The team will enter this weekend's game once again an underdog. Even if Georgia Tech is reeling, trying to escape its first four-game losing streak since the 90s, Syracuse can pay it no mind.

"If anything," Kirkland said, "it just fuels the fire a little bit and motivates us. I wouldn't say we are embracing it all, we just know our capabilities. We can beat any team as long as we work together. We can be one powerful unit."

He continued, "We try and think that they are undefeated...something like that. We try and come into every game knowing that they are the top dog and we are the ones that want to take them off the rock."

As for Spruill?

"It's always been a fight," he said, "It's been fight since I've been here as a freshman. Everybody talks down on SU but we really don't pay attention to it. We just go out and play our game."

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