Syracuse Head Coach Scott ShaferOpening Statement:
“First off, congratulations to Louisville, good football team, very good defensive football team. We knew going into the game that we were going to be playing one of the better defensive teams in the country and hats off to coach Petrino and his staff for fielding a really good defense.
“On the flip side of it, I was very pleased with the way our kids played on the defensive side of the ball. I thought they played with very good effort and physicality, especially coming off a short week and I’m very proud of the job they did and that they gave us a chance.
“We thought it was going to be a defensive battle, we really did with both sides fighting their buns off to get yards on offense and unfortunately we didn’t do a good enough job on the other side of the ball with our execution. I liked the plan, I liked the creativity but we just came up short. It’ll be a great opportunity for our kids to look at this opportunity heading into the Florida State game knowing we’ll be major underdogs. It’s a great opportunity for kids to live out their childhood dreams heading into this next game and I really look forward to the challenge ahead.
”I feel really badly about today – I feel horrible about today. I hate to lose, it makes me sick to my stomach. But we’ll fight our butts off to get to where we want to be, I promise you that.”
On being unable to spike the ball at the end of the first half:
“You need three seconds to be able to spike it and we only had two. We rushed to judgment and tried to spike it and didn’t have time, if we had three we probably would have had a shot there but we came up short and didn’t get it done and that’s on me. Poor job by Coach Shafer on that one.”
On the series of emotions that he went through tonight … Frustration? Despair?:
“No despair, I’m the luckiest guy alive. I see ISIS is out there cutting peoples’ heads off – the real world has some major problems, some major problems -- and we’re lucky to be coaching and playing a sport and being criticized for not getting a call made with a couple seconds left or being criticized for not catching a dead pig with air in it. So to me, life is pretty damn good and I’m lucky to be fielding these types of questions and I feel so blessed to be a football coach and living the dream. Every once in a while it’s uncomfortable, but that makes the highs so much better.”
On how they’ll regroup for next week:
“We’ll fight our butts off and force ourselves to be men. We’ll work hard and rely on one another. We don’t listen to anything on the outside; we call it the noise. We’ll fight like a good family would fight to get back to where they want to be and it’s a blast. It’s extremely motivating. Yeah you beat yourself up when you watch the film and go through a little bit of depression until you turn on CNN and see what’s going on out there. Then you say you’re pretty lucky, because life is pretty damn good. We just go to work and fight our butts off and try to teach the kids to be tough, and if they start to look at each other and point a finger for a quick second, we grab their hand and put the thumb in their chest and tell them ‘don’t be a finger pointer.’
“I know it sounds pretty simple to you guys, but it’s the God’s honest truth – you fight. When things aren’t good, you fight. I’ve been there, I lost 22 straight games when I was at Northern Illinois, people wanted to run us out of there.”
E.J. Manuel was benched by Doug Marrone not too long ago, was there a thought to bench quarterback Terrel Hunt tonight?
“It has nothing to do with that. That’s a bad question. We’re talking about Syracuse football and nothing. No I did not.”
On Syracuse’s red zone offense:
“You’ve seen the same thing I’ve seen. We’ve pressed to try to get things done and came up short from an execution point of view. We try to be extremely creative. We came up short. We dropped a pass.
“It’s everything you guys know, you just want to hear it from me. It wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t good enough to get it done so you go back to work and try to get it better. It’s so simple it’s hard to comprehend but it’s the God’s honest truth. So you go back and you try to run your double team better. Try to make a little better fake on a reverse play. Try to throw the ball six inches better, try to look the ball in and catch it with your hands and not your pads. It’s as simple as that – so simple it’s hard – but we’re going to keep fighting our asses off.”
On if the defense was getting tired in the second half:
“Yeah, I thought they were, but that’s part of playing on that side of the ball at this level. It makes you tougher. I didn’t think we tackled well at the beginning and I knew we were a little banged up, everyone was a little sore-shouldered but you’ve got to get your mind right.
“It’s a painful thing sometimes, but I thought those kids kept playing their butts off. I think their tailback was running extremely hard with something to try and prove against us. They ended up with 345 yards and that’s not too bad with the time of possession and the situations we put that side of the ball in. They got tired but that’s what happens.”
On improving execution:
“That’s part of toughness. I think there’s a huge misconception of what toughness is. Toughness isn’t just the physicality of it, toughness is the ability to get your mind in a very nice place where you can execute better and find that balance. That’s toughness.
“Being soft is not having the fortitude to be able to say to yourself, ‘I’ve got to stop thinking about the negatives.’ Mental toughness is saying, ‘I’m going to get it done’ when someone asks why didn’t you catch the ball because you dropped it.
“You can’t be a smart-aleck about it, but you’ve got to get your mental toughness to get to the point where you believe what you’re saying. It’s a self-fulfilling philosophy. It takes ability it and it takes heart.
“We’re never going to make excuses but the good thing is that we had some new kids out there doing some great things. I’m so proud of Ben Lewis. Everyone is going to ask why he dropped the ball, all I know is Brisly (Estime) goes down, Ashton (Broyld) goes down and now Ben is playing a new position and he’s done a heck of a job for us these last two weeks.
“I’m so proud of Ben Lewis. Now everyone is going to ask him about a dropped pass, why don’t you ask him about the ones he made, and how hard he worked to put himself in a position to help this team. I love that kid and he’s going to fight his butt off to come back.
“Toughness is more mental than it is physical and execution is mental and I think we need to continue to put ourselves in a positive light in the way we think and talk to ourselves and good things will come.”
After losing seasons in the past is there a feeling that this is going that way after the last three losses?
“Not at all. All that stuff that’s going through your head because you have doubt in us and me doesn’t happen with me. We’re going to continue to fight our butts off. We’re going to fight to the very end.”
Brandon Reddish, Senior, Cornerback
On the defense saying anything to encourage the offense:
“We just keep encouraging each other, not pointing fingers at each other. We encourage each other and tell the offense that we’ve got their back and they got our back. We just help each other out any way possible.”
On Dyshawn Davis and Cameron Lynch as teammates:
“Great teammates. Very hard workers, and I look up to them. Whether it’s in the film room, or in the weight room, or on the practice field, or in a game, I’m just trying to model after them because they’re great players.”
Julian Whigham, Junior, Cornerback
On if the team was getting worn down in the third and fourth quarters:
“We didn’t really have a swing of momentum, if that makes any sense. It’s tough when they keep scoring and were not scoring. It kind of hurts.”
On how they rebound from the loss:
“You have to scrap it and move on to the next one. That’s all there is to it. You have to learn from your mistakes, obviously. From there learn from your mistakes, come back to practice on Tuesday and work on those mistakes. Then prepare schematically to be able to do your job as best you can, and then you come out and play Saturday. It’s as simple as that, and that’s what we need to do when we play Florida State.”
Ben Lewis, Junior, Wide Receiver
On getting playing time with the first team:
“It feels good. Obviously, we wanted to do more tonight. We’re going to keep improving and looking forward to next week.”
On whether he thought he was in the end zone on the sideline end zone catch:
“I don’t know. That would be up to the referee. Obviously that’s a play that has to be made. “
On Prince-Tyson Gulley scrambling to complete pass to Lewis:
“Tyson made a really good play. The line blocked it really well. It just broke down into a scramble drill situation. We were unlucky with the penalty there. “
On catch that slipped out of hand:
“That has to be a play that’s made 100 percent of the time.”
On spiking the ball at the end of the second quarter:
“Obviously, that was a hectic situation there before the half. We were just trying to get a spike down so we could have a couple seconds on the clock to run other play or get a field goal.”
On the offense in the red zone:
“Obviously, we struggle, but we’re going to keep working hard for next week and try to improve for Florida State.”
On whether the team knew you couldn’t spike the ball with less than three seconds left:
“I think we know the rule. It’s just a hectic situation, and next time we’ll handle it a lot better.”
Cameron Lynch, Senior, Outside Linebacker
On the defensive mindset taking the field following the Hunt interception immediately after causing a Louisville turnover:
“No panic. We just caused a turnover so we were pretty juiced on the sidelines. So no panic. We got back out there and tried to make it happen. We have to attack the field. When there’s a big turnover, you have to go out there and attack the field with the right mindset, attack the next play and stop the offense. “
On coming back against Florida State and leading the SU pass rush:
“We have to go back to the drawing boards, execute and when we execute we have to make our plays. We are going to attack the week like we always do, execute the blitz like we always do, so next week hopefully we can get home and tackle him (Jameis Winston) a lot.”
Prince-Tyson Gulley, Graduate Student, Running Back
On leaving opportunities on the table:
“We have to go back to what we’ve been doing, put more focus towards the game plan and get the specifics on what we really want to do in certain situations. We need to condense a lot of stuff and execute.”
On his pass attempt to Ben Lewis:
“It’s just like how we drew it up. I didn’t see him in enough time to initially throw it to him when I saw the safety coming down. I didn’t want to blow it so I just tried to make something happen with my feet and create an opportunity like the scramble drill.”
On keeping his eyes downfield on the pass attempt:
“It’s the game. That’s all it is. It isn’t being a quarterback or a running back; it’s just knowing the game. In that situation, I just stayed calm and waited for Ben, because he’s a playmaker. He did exactly what I thought he would do. We knew what would happen in that situation.”
On giving the ball back after take-aways:
“It hurts because we all know what we are capable of doing. We just need to rise to the occasion when we have opportunities. It’s very hurtful for us to not be able to capitalize on such easy opportunities.”
Eric Crume, Senior, Nose Tackle
On the Syracuse offense:
“We control what we control. We play defense. We feel like if they can’t score, they can’t win.”
On getting the team fired up:
“I think we were just talking that ‘the time is now’. It’s time to go and we are going to play our type of football and just try to rally the troops and try to get this win. Unfortunately we didn’t come out with it but I felt like we had a lot of good energy in the huddle.”
On trying to get points from defense:
“We feel like that every game. We feel like if we can score as a defense we put our offense in a better position so they can get fluid and get the momentum off the turnover so that’s our goal to score every game anyways. Every defender wants a chance to score a touchdown.”
Wayne Williams, Junior, Nose Tackle
On how the defense played:
“We are never going to give up. We are going to keep on playing hard all the time until the clock hits zero.”
On the locker room after the loss:
“No cracks in the cut. We’re sticking together as a family. We will take this out together and next week we are going to try to get a win together.”
On his performance:
“Louisville had two great offensive linemen in 79 [Jamon Brown] and 70 [John Miller], and every time they lined up to the side, I played great. They’re looked at as two top offensive linemen, I’m just getting more confident so far as playing against those type of guys.”