Syracuse Head Coach Scott Shafer
“First off, congratulations to (coach) Brian Kelly and that football team. It’s a very talented football team and they’re going to win a lot of games this year. With that said, I thought our kids played extremely hard, physical football. I was really pleased with a lot of the things that were going on, especially early in that first half.
“I really liked our plan and five turnovers forced was pretty good. We were plus-four and came up short. We have to finish on offense. Hats off to Notre Dame’s defense, that’s why they’re one of the best defenses in the country. It was a great out-of-conference matchup and a very good football team beat us today.
“I’m proud of our kids. I liked their effort, I loved their attitude and it’ll be a great challenge for us to bounce back on a short week and prepare for a very good Louisville football team. We’ll be anxious to do so.
“Kendall Moore is fine. Pretty good concussion, but he’s fine relatively speaking. The rest of the kids are banged up a little bit but that’s from playing a good football team.”
On the Syracuse defense:
“They did a good job. The one thing we have to understand is, the thing I love about football, is that it’s the ultimate team sport and you can’t win without all-three phases finding a way to get it done, and there’s no finger pointing either, it’s all thumb pointing right back at us.
“If we come up short and we get five turnovers in a game, then we needed six to win the game, or seven. That’s the approach I want to make sure we understand. There are going to be some days when the defense plays great and some days when the offense plays great, vice versa and all across the board. I am pleased with our defensive effort tonight but we did still give up 517 so that’s not good enough.
“We can never mistake good effort and attitude and almosts and those kinds of things as victories, because the only victories that count are the ones that end up in the win column and I know our kids understand that and you guys will remind me of that throughout the course of my years.
“The only thing I want to make sure that we understand looking at this is that we’re going to fight our butts off coming back and we’re going to be the most unselfish team in the country. Things are going to sway back and forth throughout the course of the season and we’ve got to keep fighting and not mistaking effort for results.”
On Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson’s fumbled spike attempt at the end of the first half:
“Yeah, I really couldn’t see it. I must have had 20 people come up to me before I walked in here and even though they’re all saying that it’s a fumble, those officials have a tough job. Shoot, god knows I make enough mistakes, I don’t know whether it was a good call or a bad call, but we’re not going to lose any sleep over it. I know the fans are upset, saying it was definitely a fumble, well I don’t know, I know those officials tried their butts off but the luck of the Irish went their way again. That’s how it goes sometimes”
Did you run the ball less because of what you saw from Notre Dame?
“Not necessarily that. Notre Dame has a great football coach, always liked that guy, he’s a damn good football coach. He does a great job of changing the fronts up, bringing pressure one way, bringing it another, getting in and out of things, enough man to keep us honest, enough zone to throw us off, a little double eagle stuff inside, just kept us off balance and we didn’t do a good enough job maintaining and sustaining our blocks up front sometimes and they got off of their blocks sometimes.
“It comes down to blocking and tackling and getting off blocks and they did a hell of a job. They did a hell of a job now. They beat our rumps. On that side of the ball they beat our rumps today, simple as that man. Sometimes you’ve just got to say you got beat on some things and we did.”
On creating five turnovers but not scoring on them:
“It’s frustrating, but that’s why I love football. It’s frustrating but let’s go, we have to move on, and that’s what I told the kids. All thumb pointing, no finger pointing because that’s what weaker men do.
“The greatest thing about this sport is that it teaches young men to own it. ‘Hey I didn’t get it done today, it wasn’t good enough.’ ‘Yes, coach.’ Later in life, that’s going to help them. Also, dammit we lost. I hate losing but son of a gun, there are lessons to be learned and these kids are going to learn from them. It’s going to be a sour ride home.”
On (Notre Dame quarterback Everett) Golson’s 26-straight completions:
“I wasn’t aware, I wasn’t keeping track. Most of them were behind the line of scrimmage or short ones and then they got a few big ones. The outside zone play that they call bubble now, they hit those. We didn’t get off the blocks as well as we needed to. We knew that they were probably going default to a lot of those throws out there. It was an opportunity to hit a lot of their athletes in space. Sometimes we did a really good job with that and others we didn’t. I don’t know if you go back and charted that to see how many of those were intermediate range, they were effective and they beat our butts, so good job by Golson.”
On failing to convert on 4th and 1:
“Well, good job by them. We didn’t get it done, it’s frustrating, move on.”
On Notre Dame compared to other opponents Syracuse has seen thus far:
“They’re pretty talented but if I had to put money on someone from our conference I would though. Florida State is freakish.”
On the downfield passing game and its use in the future:
“The game was in a different situation. I’m sure Brian [Kelly] backed off on some things until late when he brought seven or eight on the last one. You’ve got to look at the timing of the game and the choices you make. I can remember being on that side of the ball and the situation where you stay in your game plan and you get up by 14 or 17 and you back off some things and there are some seams open. There’s cause and effect with those situations. We’re going to try to do everything we can imagine to try to win the next ball game, including how much run game and how much passing game and how many fake kick, punts and all that other stuff. We’re going to scratch and claw to get this Louisville game.”
Jarrod West, Senior, Wide Receiver
On Notre Dame’s defense:
“They did a great job of slowing down the runs and making us pass.”
On getting involved late in the game?
“I’m not a selfish player, so it’s not frustrating. I just try to go out, and whatever comes my way I try to make my plays. If it’s a run play, I try to block for my teammates and anything like that.”
On how well the Syracuse defense played:
“They played well. They caused so many turnovers. The opportunities are there, we just have to capitalize on them.”
Terrel Hunt, Senior, Quarterback
On whether it was frustrating that you could not get the ball down the field more often:
“We got the ball down the field -- we weren’t able to get in the end zone where we wanted to get it. It was frustrating but you have to play on.”
On whether it was difficult to run the football:
“No, not really because their (defensive) ends were maintaining and keeping outside. They did that on film and they did it with other teams. I figured I wasn’t going to be able to run as much, so I left it up to the running backs.”
On what he feels is keeping the offense from scoring more points:
“Really, (it’s) just penalties. It’s just being anxious, but you have to take a step back, take a breather and just relax and realize we’re in the red zone and we have to score there.”
On what it was like playing close to home:
“It was frustrating. I know I’m home but we lost at the end of the day. I can’t look at any bright side to it. We lost, that’s all it is.”
On whether he feels the team will break out soon:
“Most definitely. I have the utmost faith in the whole team. The defense did a great job -- they gave us the ball -- and the offense fell short a couple times. I put that on myself and (I’ll) just go back to the drawing board and get better next week.”
Durell Eskridge, Junior, Free Safety
On today’s game against Notre Dame:
“As a defensive backfield we have to do better and we can’t come in and let a quarterback complete 26 straight passes. That just makes us look bad, and makes him look even better than he already is.
“It’s tough knowing that a quarterback completed 26 straight passes on my defensive backs and I’ll take full responsibility for that.
“We could have played with these people. We had a good shot to win this game and again we have beat ourselves and the only thing we can do is get ready and come in tomorrow and go to work.”
On next week’s game against Louisville:
“We have to come back tomorrow and concentrate on the little things – the penalties, the ball disruption, the scooping and scoring – the little things we have to come back and go to work on that tomorrow. We have a big week ahead of us with Louisville coming in on Friday night.”
Sean Hickey, Senior, Offensive Tackle
On today’s game against Notre Dame:
“We have to just keep our cool and pick moments. That’s probably what it’s come down to. We had a few false starts, a personal foul and just others things and some communications issues that we just have to clean up when it comes to crunch time.”
On the passing game and play of wide receiver Jarrod West:
“Jarrod is becoming a big play threat down the field and it’s very encouraging to see. It’s good to have your vertical passing game working like that; it helps out the running game a lot and it helps out the overall team. We just got to hope that they can keep it going.”
Brandon Reddish, Senior, Cornerback
On whether it was frustrating to cause so many turnovers and not be able to capitalize on them:
“We work as a team. We definitely do not point fingers at each other. No matter what we will stick together.”
Prince-Tyson Gulley, Running Back, Graduate Student
On Notre Dame’s defense:
“Notre Dame was really disciplined in what they were doing. It was pretty tough but it was nothing that we couldn’t handle. We just didn’t show it, we didn’t get the job done.”
On what he has learned about his team this season:
“After these first four games I know that we can compete with anybody, I will tell you that. We just have to execute what we are doing. I do not think there is any team out there that is just so much better than us. I don’t see that out there. We really have to go back to work and go to the drawing boards and do what we have to do.”
On whether or not he thinks the team will come together:
“That is exactly how I feel. It will all come together when we work it out together and we are going to be very potent.”
Julian Whigham, Cornerback, Junior
On Notre Dame’s quick tempo offense:
“We were playing a softer zone in those situations and they took advantage of it. Good job to them. It was a good game play. We started to tighten up in the second half more and it started to work. We just have to get back to the drawing board and fix it.”
On whether the loss is a disappointment or morale booster:
“It’s a little bit of both in that situation. It’s encouraging to see the defense play so well with the turnover margin but we just have to keep pushing. It’s a disappointing loss but at the same time it’s encouraging to see the good things, and they’ll show up on film. From there we just have to keep pushing and get back up.”
On how the defense and offense do not blame each other for the loss:
“That’s just a sign of a really good team. It’s good to be a thumb pointer back at yourself and understand that you have to do your job. Everyone is an individual who does their job, but it’s all part of a team game. We’re really well disciplined, Coach Shafer does a good job with that. We understand that you can’t be finger pointers because that is a detriment to the team. So owning up to mistakes is the first step towards getting better.”
Notre Dame Quotes
Notre Dame Head Coach Brian Kelly
On Everett Golson’s performance:
“I think there’s a lot to learn from. He does so many really good things, but there are things he has to experience and he experienced some things tonight that I think are going to make him a better quarterback. So, what is it 16 starts? Some of the things that happened tonight are things that he’s going to be able to take and build off of and be a better quarterback because of it.”
On whether Everett Golson was able to explain what he did wrong on some of the turnovers:
“We have a very good line of communication where we can talk about the things that are going on in the game. We made some adjustments that allowed him to throw 26 consecutive completions, but we also made some mistakes. But again, he is level-headed to the point where he wants to get better and he’s learning and seeing things out there that he is learning and going to get better from. We just can’t duplicate them and he knows that.”
On the defense overcoming five turnovers:
“Not that it’s a good thing, but we turned the ball over three times on the 20- yard line. So we never put them on a short field. Everett’s (Golson), well I guess it was ruled technically not a forward pass on the fire fire situation, was on the 26 yard line. His fumble was inside the 20. So they had long fields there. Again, the running back fumble was again on a long field, so I’d say we were driving the football, and shooting ourselves in the foot more than cataclysmic kind of mistakes where we put them in plus field situations.”
On Notre Dame’s approach to combating Syracuse’s blitz game:
“They went three down. They had been a four-down team on first and second down at about 92 percent over the last two years and then just totally went all three down in fire zone pressure. With those kinds of pressures, we went to our now game, which is getting the ball out on the perimeter to combat it. I think it slowed it down, neutralized it and allowed us some looks that we could control the football and move the ball without putting Everett in a position where we got sacked. I wasn’t going to put him in and open up the formations and put him in that situation.”
On the consistency of his Notre Dame defense:
“We have some big guys in there. We have some athletic guys. We’ve lost a lot of good players. We feel like we’ve got some big physical players that can stop the run. We’re built for it. We’ve got to do a better job on the edge of our defense, our corners have to play better. We got a little soft in the third quarter and we have to play better out there. You can be great at stopping the run, but if you’re giving up big plays on the perimeter that’s not a good situation.”
Everett Golson, Quarterback
On the game plan against Syracuse’s defense:
“We knew they would throw some three down at us, and it was pretty successful early in the game so I think the coaches did a great job of putting in those situations, whether it was seven-man protections or just really trying to get the ball in the air.”
On what he thought he saw on the interception returned for a touchdown:
“Really they just rolled down. In my better judgment I probably should have maybe moved to the back side. The corner was playing soft so I was just trying to compensate for that.”
Jaylon Smith, Sophomore, Linebacker
On what things went right for the Notre Dame defense:
“The main thing was just having great leverage all game, just trying to be physical. Obviously we had some mental errors and things like that where it kind of got us off track, but that was the whole motto, making sure we stay physical as much as we could.”
On the offense turning the ball over but not allowing more than one touchdown:
“You talk about a great offense like we have, and when they’re not doing so well they got to rely on us, and it’s always good having that extra pressure and we succeeded.”