(ARE YOU 100 PERCENT?)
Yup, you're not going to hear any different.
(DOES THE BRACE ANNOY YOU?)
It does a little bit. I've been wearing it for three or four months. Every now and again I get some cuts. I'm going to have to play through it.
(WILL YOU TAKE IT OFF?)
I could sign a waver to get out of it but that says something to me. If you have to sign a waver, you might as well just do it. I feel comfortable with it.
(HOW ABOUT YOUR LEADERSHIP)
It's kind of nerve racking going into it. But I wanted to step up to it. It's a different role. There was always someone else, but there is always going to be a leader and it feels good that I'm the leader. I'm teaching and coaching the other players on how to play. It's a lot of pressure, but that's what it's all about. Good players want pressure.
(WHO WILL START?)
There's six guys that could be. There's only one guy that's definitely starting and that's me. There's Vidosh, Sea Bass, DiPietro, John who's a freshman. That just shows you the competition we've had. It pushes the other players to do better. If we had three guys, and said, you three are going to start. There's no pressure. We need the other people pushing.
It doesn't matter how good you are if you don't have experience. We all stepped in and played our first games at one time or another. I think if he continues to get better and continues to learn and continues to listen to us, he'll be OK.
(TALK ABOUT JAY PFEIFER)
It was good timing having a great defense in front of him. Now we have a great returner behind us. Obviously he's going to be more confident. No doubt about it. He's going to be more vocal this year. That's what goalies do.
(WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS?)
It's pointing towards getting there, but obviously our goal is winning the championship. You don't think, you're Syracuse, you're automatically going. If you do start thinking that, that's the year you're not going to go. You have to be driven. Our first goal is every week to win the game. Everyday to get better. Every month to get better. Every year is to win the championship.
(IS THERE A PROCESS BEHIND THE BRACE?)
There all numbered, one two three four five. No matter how well you do it, when you stand up, you have to readjust it again. I've been wearing it for three or four months and I don't think I've ever put it on without having to readjust it four or five times before I starting playing on it. That's the one of the pain of it, it's never going to feel comfortable from sweating and sliding.
(COMMUNICATON AN ISSUE?)
It was a problem. It was our biggest problem. We could have the three best defensemen in the league, but if they don't communicate, it's not going to mean anything. That was the first thing we worked on. If you're not saying something, you're doing something wrong. Say something, repeat yourself, just say something. That gets you in the habit of talking more and more and more. You don't need to say it all the time when you're saying the right things. The best thing about our defense last year is we all knew exactly where we were going before we went. That's where we need to get to this year.
(WHAT ELSE NEEDS TO HAPPEN ON D?)
We need to get our midis more involved this year. Last year, we had three strong guys back there that could cover up mistakes, this year, we have three strong guys as well, but you can't lie about it, we're not as good as we were defensively- yet. So we have to have the midis more in tune with our defense.
(HOW ABOUT THOSE FRESHMAN?)
Among the freshman, Gallagher got sick last fall, but he was lookin' really good up until then. He's slowly getting it back but he's looking really strong. They're all looking strong for freshman. If they get playing time, who knows, but they're just getting stronger and stronger every year.
(DO YOU MISS ST. GEORGE AND GLATZEL?)
I already miss them in practice. Every practice, someone does something they shouldn't have, and you think, ‘John wouldn't have done that last year.' Obviously I'm going to miss them but I'm getting over it. It's a bigger challenge for me.
It's weird because it seemed like it was a rookie year because I took the fall off and I wasn't around these guys. It didn't feel like I could boss them around as much as I wanted to. I don't mean to boss them around to show power I want to boss them around to make them better. Now I can tell them whatever I want to. I'm not getting cocky, but I do know more than they do. Obviously when people don't know, they're going to look to coach, and then they're going to look to me. That's a lot of pressure on me. I can't take practice off. I can't take a drill off. The whole defense is looking at what I do. That just makes me more focused.
(WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOHNS HOPKINS AND SYRACUSE)
Totallity different. Like night and day. Coaches are much better with the players up here than they are down there.
It's much better, specially now. We had trouble in the fall but now we don't have that. We have sol back for the spring, so we're much better now.
(IS IT FIXED?)
That was really it. Three new guys starting on D and three new guys up top. At the end of the fall we got it together. Now we're much better and communications not an issue at all.
The freshman fit in really well. John Gallagher and John Wright fit in really well with us on defense.
(HOW ARE YOU ADJUSTING?)
It's really intense. The guys are really helping me out a lot. I'm still learning and adjusting everyday. I'm really flattered they mentioned my name. I'm really flattered to be in the position to get some playing time this year.
The coaches told me that I'm still building my confidence up to that level. If I don't get that spot, I'm confident those guys will do a great job.
(FOLLOWED CUSE LAST YEAR?)
I followed them pretty well. I don't have an opportunity to watch the games back in Michigan but I read about them on the internet. I watched the national championship on TV.
He's such a great leader. Even when he was hurt in the fall, he was such an immense presence. He's been a great help getting me adjusted.
LAX ALL-AMERICAN SOL BLISS TALKS
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