Long adjusting to college life

A.J. Long spoke with CuseNation.com about adjusting to college life, learning the Syracuse system, and how he's progressing through spring practice.

A.J. Long has been looking forward to the start of his Syracuse career since he committed nearly one year ago. Just a few months into his career, he is still going through that adjustment period.

"I'm feeling pretty good as far as football goes," Long said. "As far as school, it's an adjustment just because it's different. My professors are different; the structure for the week is different. So it's just a matter of feeling comfortable with that and getting used to the things that my professors are asking me to do.

"But it's not too bad so far. The transition has been pretty easy."

Long has spent a lot of time buried in the Orange playbook in addition to his work in the classroom. He thinks he is coming along very well in learning the system.

"Right now, with the playbook, I'm feeling very comfortable with the things that we continue to put in," Long said. "Football, it's very easy over time simply because I've had it drilled in my head year after year. The schemes and the verbiage changes, but the plays are basically the same.

"All you have to do now is learn to decipher defenses faster, move faster, think faster. As far as learning it, it's not a big deal, it's just a matter of executing it."

Long is also working on the technical aspect of playing quarterback.

"My downfall since high school to now is getting my feet right," Long said. "The footwork that I had before, it changes now because I'm with (quarterbacks) coach (Tim) Lester. I had to do what my high school coach wanted to in order to play under him.

"Now, having to change that again, it's just taking time. Once I get my feet where he wants them to, we're all pretty happy with how I'm coming along."

Offensive coordinator George McDonald's offense is fast-paced, which could be problematic for some learning the system for the first time. Long says, however, that is not the case with him.

"It honestly helps me more because I'm used to playing so fast," Long said. "I'm played really fast from my freshman and sophomore year. Moving down to Tennessee, it hurt me because their offense wasn't as fast as I was used to.

"With coach McDonald's offense moving fast and having to think faster, it helps me learn it a lot more to understand the offense and what I'm supposed to do."


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