Syracuse has a tall task this Saturday when they play Notre Dame, currently ranked number nine in Scout’s college football poll. Orange head coach Scott Shafer is impressed with what he sees from the Irish on film.
”Obviously (quarterback) Everett (Golson) is a great player,” Shafer said during his Tuesday media teleconference. “I think they have three top-tier wide receivers. I think they have three really good running backs. I think their defense is phenomenal. That’s why they’re ranked so high both in the nation as a team and as a defense.
”They’re all over the place. I think they’re solid across the board. They’re one of the better teams that we’ve played in my tenure.”
In the season opener against Villanova, Syracuse had a hard time containing dual threat quarterback John Robertson. Against the Irish, they will have a similar, albeit more difficult, task.
”Anytime you have a player the caliber of Everett Golson, it definitely does,” Shafer said. “You have to take a look at the prepared run game stuff. You also have to do a good job when he creates. He creates in passing downs. He extends plays and throws the ball down the field. He can also scamper for good yardage.
”We have to have good game plan and we have to have really good vision on our job at hand in the run game as well as getting our eyes back and always knowing where Golson is throughout the course of the play.”
The key for Syracuse, coach Shafer says, is to focus on football rather than the bright lights of a prime time matchup against a big name opponent.
”I think you just have to play one down at a time football,” Shafer said. “I’ve said it many times, the game is about how well you play for those five or six seconds of each down. That’s more important than anything else. You have to kind of isolate yourself from the noise that’s involved. When I say noise, I mean outside factors. And just lock-in to playing that game.
”It’s still about blocking, tackling, defeating blocks, catching footballs and protecting the football. We try to focus on the things that are truly controllable and those are those five or six seconds of each play.”