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November 5, 2014

Scott Shafer

SCOTT SHAFER:  We're looking forward to having Duke, the division leader over there on the Coastal side of things, into the Dome and up to Syracuse this week.  And with that, any questions?

Q.  I'm assuming Moore, obviously this being his final season with Syracuse, he's had kind of an ebb and flow, up‑and‑down moments.  What can you see that you've seen out of him?  I know you said a lot of positive things going into the season.  Just what you've been able to take away?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Well, first off, he really learned how to‑‑ this last year and a half, control his body weight, have a consistent work ethic that would keep him at that 229 range, 230, and I think that's where it all started.  He's done a nice job working through being a backup and just having small roles, and looking forward to seeing him graduate, and I'm proud of him.  But very good kid, worked very hard, and unselfish player.

Q.  You've cared obviously so much about this team and everything since you've taken over.  When you face the adversity of this season you always talk about the family element of it all and the last three games obviously are more important than other games of the season.  What can you say the team has been doing environment‑wise to try and get together and to do what some people consider the impossible, and obviously the guys don't believe it's that impossible?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Right.  Well, I think first and foremost, the thing I love the most about this team is their unselfish brotherhood.  They just keep fighting, and they never make excuses.  We've been battered up, and the kids have fought back.  We've played one of the most difficult schedules in the country, and that continues this week against No.22 Duke, obviously.  But they've never had excuses when we've come away from the losses.  They've just gone to work.
There's never been any cracks in the cup.  When we had change agents with the entries and the staff and a nine‑week schedule without a bye week, playing some of the best teams in the country, they just kept fighting.  That's what I love about this group.  They have that, I'm never going to change, never give in attitude, without excuses, and they just continue to fight the good fight and believe in one another.
You know, after lost week's game when we almost came back and pulled it off, obviously it was somber times in the locker room for a few minutes, and then we talked as a team and finished it, and I can remember Ritchy Desir saying, no matter what, we're always a family, and then we broke it down family, and that would probably epitomize what I love most about this team.  They really genuinely care about one another.

Q.  Considering the caliber of opponent you're facing this week, what's been the message to your team about we need to do this better than we did last week because of the caliber of the opponent?
SCOTT SHAFER:  I don't ever talk that way as far as do this better, do that better.  All we talk about is staying true to ourselves, controlling our attitude, our effort, our focus level, and working with great intensity toward the next opponent.  Duke is a very good football team.  Our kids have gone up against some very good teams this year, Florida State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Louisville, and now Duke.  I think our schedule has given us a chance to be prepared to play against anybody, and I know our kids won't back down.  I know they look forward to the opportunity.
So really that's the whole approach that we take.

Q.  How well do you know Duke's Ryan Smith, and are there any unusual dynamics going on when one of your staff members' sons plays for the other team?
SCOTT SHAFER:  No, just a lot of reminiscing of the past.  Ryan and Coach Smith and I were together at Northern Illinois, and Ryan and my son Wolfgang are friends and have known each other since they were just out of diapers basically.  Ryan has been up here in the summer, especially two summers back when we first got the job and worked out with our kids to be honest with you, and my son and Ryan ran around together, and Wolf introduced him to all his friends up here in central New York, and we had him over quite a bit during the summer.
I just couldn't be more proud of Ryan.  He's a great kid, comes from a great family with DeAndre and Lori, and just looking forward to seeing him.  I want him to have a great career at Duke but not against Syracuse.

Q.  So you're okay with him, I guess?
SCOTT SHAFER:  More than okay with him.  I love him.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about a couple of defensive tackles.  John Raymon, who we saw get hurt this weekend, and Wayne Morgan, who's been out for a little bit.  Both of those guys kind of had interesting, I don't know if journeys is the word, but to get back on the field with John having a knee injury and Wayne having to cut all this weight and adjust to the Division I lifestyle.  I know you don't want to give away too much with injuries, but can you talk about how they're doing and for those guys to have gone through so much, how hard is it to see them not necessarily be available at the end of the season?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Speaking to the injury side of it, like you would anticipate, we'll have our report out for Thursday, like we need to for the ACC, and then speaking to the second part, you know, those two young men‑‑ John Raymon has‑‑ both of them have come a long way, and you're disappointed when a young man gets hurt and you feel for him, but you also understand that that's part of this game, unfortunately.  I've seen a lot of growth out of Johnny in dealing with his injury last year and combating through some very difficult times and becoming a stronger young man.
For John, you know, it's difficult because he went down again, and we'll see how he's doing.  It's day by day, but you just feel bad for him, simple as that.
And then with Wayne, Wayne went through a lot just to get here, and he was just starting to come on and play pretty well for us, and we were excited about his progress, and then he gets nicked up and out.  Same deal; it's difficult.
The thing that's most gratifying, though, is seeing these kids come out and come through their injuries.  It's not something that I enjoy going through as a coach, but there is a lot of opportunity to learn about yourself as an individual when what you probably love at the top of your list with regards to your collegiate life is your football, and when it's taken away, you have a lot to deal with mentally to try to get through it.
There's a lot of growth potential there, and I've seen a lot of our kids going through that.  Unfortunately this year it's a lesson I wish‑‑ I wish we didn't have so many of those lessons going on at the same time.  But in the same breath, those kids can really learn from dealing with adversity.  Losing a game is one thing, but losing an opportunity to play the game is the other that we've been dealing with this year far too often.
I feel good about the way the kids are fighting through the process.

Q.  And then I wanted to ask about Terrel.  I know you said last week that he hadn't started too much of the physical rehabilitation yet, but how is he doing?  Only four weeks left in the regular season, is there any kind of gauge as to whether or not he could return after the bye?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Just day by day, week by week.  Nothing has really changed there.  The one thing that Terrel has done a good job with is he's taken some of the opportunity to have a little bit more time in his day to look at some different things.  I know he had a really good meeting with Rick Burton up at sports management because Terrel has postured himself to graduate here real soon, and he's going to start his masters program, and I think that's the direction he's hoping to go.
As far as the injury goes, though, it's just going to be day by day, week by week, and we'll take it at that speed.

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