Syracuse was 2-0 last season, but ended up 3-9. Back in the same situation 2015, Syracuse has once again rattled off two straight victories to start the year. It feels different from an outside perspective, and tight end Kendall Moore says it does internally as well.
"This year is different because the approach is different," Moore said. "The mindset of the team has changed. I think last year we were caught up in the hype of being 2-0. This year we're just focused on going 1-0 every week and we're not focused on any hype or any outside factors that could deteriorate us away from a win. So we're just in the mindset that we need to get a win every week."
Another big factor is improved chemistry and team camaraderie. Moore says he notices a big different in the attitude and closeness of the team compared to last year. That has helped them stay focused on the one game at a time approach and winning each day mantra that head coach Scott Shafer had instilled.
There is also a completely new offense in place under offensive coordinator Tim Lester. Moore believes that also helps the team as they move forward with the season and try to avoid a repeat of last season.
"This offense, it makes sense to the players and the personnel that we have," he said. "Last year's offense, it was a good scheme, I think it did not necessarily fit the players. This year, we know what plays are coming. We can kind of predict it and we can kind of get in the same mindset as Tim Lester. It fits what we have and what we do as a team."
One play where the scheme, understanding and chemistry manifested itself was during a critical third down in the fourth quarter of Syracuse's win over Wake Forest. Dungey ended up finding Moore down the sideline, after scrambling, for a 21-yard gain and a first down.
"First of all, I know Dungey is a creative kid," Moore said. "So when he gets back there, he doesn't really know any limits. He's just going to go on the fly. I seen the SAM (linebacker) pressed up on me, so once I released on my route, I saw him release to the flat. So I knew I had a chance to beat him around with speed.
"Once I got around the edge, I turned my head and I seen the ball in the air. I knew that I got the depth I needed for the first down. Dungey threw me a great ball and it was a great play."
Moore discusses more about team chemistry and staying focused on the upcoming game in the video below.