Quote Book: Syracuse at Wake Forest

Post-game quotes from Syracuse players and coaches after their 30-7 win over Wake Forest.

Syracuse Head Coach Shafer

Opening Statement:
“Very pleased with this victory today. We always talk about adjusting to the elements. We’ve had a lot of kids injured. A lot of kids banged up. I really felt like we were going to have to gut this one out and they did. A lot of things that we have to continue to improve upon. But with some of the youth playing across the board, I was pleased with the effort. Really, obviously, pleased with the way the defense played creating two turnovers that turned into touchdowns. A great victory for our kids.”

On all three phases playing well:
“There are some things we have to work on in all three phases. Just a good victory under the circumstances of where we are with our personnel. Hopefully we can get a couple guys healed up this week before we go down to Death Valley. Very pleased. Thought our kids did a nice job taking coaching all week long. I thought our offense did a nice job moving the ball against a really good defense. A defense that’s been playing well all season in Wake Forest. Very pleased with the victory.”

On Jason Emerich:
“We knew we were going to have to go to him at the beginning of the week to be honest with you. Johnny kept trying and trying but it wasn’t looking good. We tried some things. Tried to change some things up in there a little bit to make things easier on him in his first start.”

On Cole Murphy:
“He’s done a nice job. He’s just got to keep the damn kickoffs inbounds. Other than that, he’s done a nice job kicking. I think he’ll continue to get better.”

On the defense limiting Wake Forest:
“We felt like we needed to. I’m glad we did because I felt like we could. Coming out of the Florida State game, our defensive kids, they were banged up. I’m not going to lie to you. We had to try to be smart during the week with the way that we practiced. I thought mentally they were extremely strong at working through some pain and then, today, playing exceptional football. Very proud of the job the defensive kids have done. Coach Bullough and the defensive staff is doing a great job. We’ll have our hands full this week.”

On getting a conference win
“It’s always great to get a conference victory, on the road especially in this conference as you well know. Good victory. Looking forward to continuing to try to get to 2-0 in the second half of the season. Great effort by the kids. Looking forward to watching the tape too.”

On A.J. Long:
“It’s so hard for me to tell before until I get to the tape. He showed his athleticism down there in the red zone when he took off with it. I know he’d like to get some plays back on some reads. He was in high school last year. We’re going to keep working with him. I was hoping we could get Mitch going there at the end too because he’s worked extremely well too. We’ll just keep on hammering and keep trying to find ways to get better.”

On Steve Ishmael:
“Stevie is just a great little football player. He loves to play the game. I know if I was playing quarterback I’d throw it up to him all the time. I just love the hell out of the kid and he loves football. His passion about the way he goes to work. It’s amazing, kid’s that work so hard and how it shows up in the productivity side of things at the end of a game. Couldn’t be more proud of the way Stevie’s been working at it and it’s really nice to see him get that production during the game.”

On the defensive front seven:
“Defensively, did a nice job. Some physical football play. Some great calls by coach Bullough. Then it was nice to see us turn them into touchdowns on the run. We got two defensive ends with touchdowns. It’ll be interesting to see which defensive lineman finished the season with the most touchdowns.”

On whether or not this was a must-win:
“No. One at a time. I know it’s cliché but it’s the truth. When you go the other route, that’s when you do a poor job. We’re just going to try to get better and have a great Sunday film session. Come back on Monday and get healthy. Have a great Tuesday practice and just worry about getting better every day.”

On getting all five running backs involved:
“It’s always good to see. I wish Devante could’ve got that touchdown. I was yelling and trying to tell him to weave. But it was really good to see all of those kids. They’re great kids and work really hard. Not enough footballs to go to all the touches they want. But you also understand that they really help us a ton in the kicking game. People will count up the number of carries that Devante had. But you’ll be able to triple that number with the reps that he had in the kicking game. All of those kids are helping in so many different ways.”

On Gulley not calling for a fair catch:
“We’re going to talk about that when we get home.”

On being on the other side of a big margin of defeat:
“Oh, I don’t know. We know it’s going to be a fight every single week. Not to keep saying the same thing but it’s what we sign up for and I love it. What a great opportunity. What a beautiful day to play football. We’ve got a bunch of young kids that are going to do great things down the road when they’re doing playing football. Just to feel the growth process with these young men, it’s really a blast. It really is. So, looking forward. Getting better. Going down to Death Valley.

On the two defensive touchdowns:
“We do that drill every day. We do those drills every day. We do the swat drill. What happened today we do every single day in practice. Coach Bullough puts them through a battery. Every single kid on the defense goes through, they tomahawk chop, they scoop and score, they cradle it. It’s always good to see those drills that you work everyday show up on the football field.”

Robert Welsh, Senior, Defensive End

On the interception return touchdown:
“I was really tired. I wanted to some air and some Gatorade in me. The first thing I did was look for the sidelines so I could sit down and get some rest.”

On the offense struggling and defense playing well:
“It’s a team game. One thing we pride ourselves on defense is winning the game no matter how we have to do it. Turnovers, get the ball back for the offense, score touchdowns like we did today. We got 14 points today on defense, which is great for us. That’s all we try to do is go out there and do our job. Ignore the noise. Just worry about what the defense has to do.

”It just kind of turned out that way. We have all the confidence in the world in the offense. We just go out there and try to do what we do to win the game.”

On what he saw on his interception:
“It’s funny because it was pretty similar to Penn State. I dropped, good call by coach Bullough. Different call but I dropped. I actually saw Dyshawn crush him. I didn’t think he was going to get the ball off, but he got the ball off. It was right to me and I caught it. I saw green down the left sideline. I ran as fast as I could trying to score and I did.”

On scoring this year as opposed to getting close last year against Penn State:
“Yeah because last year I promised, some reporters asked me what happens if you get another interception, I promised them I would get in the end zone. So I had to today. It’s funny, I saw the running back try to chase me down and I just said I have to. Because if I got pushed out again, I would never hear the end of it. So I just ran for my life and tried to get in end zone and it was a good thing I did.”

On a must win attitude:
“Definitely. We go into every game as if it’s a must win. But, you know, we lost four in a row. That’s tough for us. Bounced back. Coach Shafe said in the second half of the season we have to be 1-0. We accomplished that goal. Now it’s on to Clemson. They’re a real good team. Try to go down there and get to 2-0.”

On countering the quick plays from Wake Forest:
“We didn’t really think that they were going to run the ball as much as they did. They ran the ball a lot today. Their offensive line, they were OK. I don’t think the d-line did a great job in getting sacks but we got pressure. Really can’t complain with two touchdowns on the d-line. We just tried to do the best we could to get back there. All that matters is we come out of there with the W.”

A.J. Long, Freshman, Quarterback

On getting the win:
“In your first career start, you can get a win on the road against a great Wake Forest team. Their defense is one of the best in the country. For us to be able to come do this today, it was a good feeling.”

On his rushing touchdown:
“I was looking to pass the ball to see if Ron or Kendall or JP (Josh Parris) was open and neither of them were. Then I felt pressure and tried to get underneath it. My goal was to try to outrun the corner or the d-end or whoever it was and get to the pilon. Thankfully I got there.”

On the ground game:
“It makes it a lot easier. Those guys up front and the guys behind me, they’re great. Being able to take all of the pressure off of me in passing situations because of what they do in the run game. It makes our playaction pass and our overall passing game better.”

On inconsistencies in second half compared to first half:
“Really it’s just me making mental mistakes that I made last week. I just have to clean those up to make sure I put the offense in the best possible position to be successful.”

On talking to Robert Welsh after his touchdown:
“I just said that’s what you do. Our defense, they’re playmakers. They’re versatile. You could take most of our guys at d-end and put them at tight end and they would do the same things. It’s just those guys going down, having fun and making plays. That’s all I said.”

On his connection with Steve Ishmael:
“It’s a good feeling. But at the same time, if you said the same thing with any receiver it would be the same. Steve just finds a way to get open and they put him in situations where he can be successful. He makes the most of them.”

On the team’s thoughts coming into the game:
“It was just going out and playing football. You just have to go out every week and play to the best of your ability. Let the best team win. In the last four weeks, we haven’t been the best team. We haven’t put together a whole game. Today, thankfully, we were able to put a game together enough where we can win. But we still have to do better than this.”

On the jumbo package:
“It’s just fun having the defense out there. We’re a close-knit group and once you get those guys out there, they’re like a wild pack of dogs. It’s fun to get those guys out there and just pound it down people’s throats.”

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