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October 23, 2013

Scott Shafer

SCOTT SHAFER:  We have a bye week this week before we get into the Wake Forest game.  It comes at a good time.  Like everyone around the country, we're banged up a little bit.  Looking forward to getting everyone back and looking forward to getting back on the practice field.
With that, any questions?

Q.  I wanted to start with obviously a 56‑0 loss, there's a lot of things to work on from there, but did you take any positives from that game that you thought the team was doing right either in the beginning or toward the end?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Yeah, you know, the two biggest positives coming out of it were two freshmen that emerged, Brisly Estime in the return game as well as some of his blocking on offense.  I was real pleased with his steady improvement.  Looking forward to continuing to see him grow.  He's going to be a real good player for us.
And the other one is Marqez Hodge.  He had 12 or 13 solo tackles.  With Dyshawn being injured, we kind of amped up Hodge's opportunity to play, and another young kid from Miami that jumped in there and made a lot of football plays, a lot of good tackles, and most impressed with just the fact that he just looked like he was playing like he was in high school, and he never really batted an eye.
You know, coming away with a difficult loss that we were all disappointed in, it was good to see those two freshmen help us out and give us some confidence and bolster some of our depth at those positions that we've been trying to develop in two young, bright guys that have futures that are going to be extremely positive here.
Coming away from it, those are probably the two things that I was most pleased with.

Q.  And then as far as John Raymon, obviously a tough break, but this is a kid that I know you care about all your kids, but this is a special story.  Just go into your relationship with John and what he's meant to this team.
SCOTT SHAFER:  Yeah, Johnny is special to all of us.  You know, John, like a lot of our kids, had a difficult young life.  You know, it's well‑documented, and continued to fight through very difficult situations as a young guy and was adopted by just a wonderful family.  We were just so happy to get him in the program.  And he's grown so much as a young person and a football player, and couldn't be prouder of him.
Football is a very difficult sport with injuries.  Unfortunately it showed its ugly head on John Saturday.  Extremely disappointed but also understanding that it's a life lesson that's going to make John a stronger person, and he'll get through it.  He's got great support not only from his family but his extended family here at Syracuse, both the football team and the Syracuse community has been great to him and have reached out.
We're looking forward to him continuing to progress academically this semester, have a little bit more time to focus in on that, even though he's going to have to be trudging up through campus on crutches and wheelchairs and that sort of thing, which isn't easy to find for a big guy 325 pounds, but we're going to help him through these difficult times, and in the long run, like I told him the other day, he'll be stronger for it and he'll appreciate every snap he gets going forward.
It's definitely a process that you don't like to run into, but it is the reality of this sport, and I've seen it help young men become stronger people through the duration of dealing with rehab and coming back, and I know John will be a stronger person in the long run, and he knows he's got a lot of people that love him here at Syracuse that are going to help him through that difficult time.

Q.  Terrel Hunt, no passing touchdowns against the ACC, multiple interceptions.  He was almost the exact opposite in non‑conference play.  What are you taking from him right now and how he's kind of adjusting to the conference?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Yeah, you know, he's a young quarterback that has a great bright future.  Only starting four games.  We have to always keep that in mind.  Patience is a virtue.  It's not easy, but it is a virtue.  The big thing is he's a quality young man that's fighting it the right way.  I'm looking forward to him getting back on the field against Wake Forest and continuing to grow and improve.  It was a difficult game, and we didn't help him on the other side of the ball.  Any time you get down early by that much, it's not the easiest world to live in as a quarterback, especially when you're trying to develop him week to week.
But I like his fight, and I know he'll come back this week and have a good week of practice in the bye week and have good preparation getting ready for the Wake Forest game coming back at home, and hopefully we can flip those numbers back to the way he played out of conference.  I believe in my heart we will.

Q.  I know you didn't just wake up on Friday and decide to try something new on defense.  What did you think you were going to get from switching to the 3‑4 against Georgia Tech?
SCOTT SHAFER:  A little more speed on the field and trying to research it and see how we matched up best athletically.  We felt like that was the way to go.  You know, as a coach you fight the 20/20 hindsight, but you also learn from it.  You know, difficult lesson because we didn't do a good job.
At the end of the day from a scheme point of view, the scheme had soundness in it, but we didn't play it as well as we needed to.  We weren't as disciplined as we needed to be, and to be quite honest with you, they blocked us better than we got off blocks.  It's still a game of blocking and tackling, and they did a great job, and they deserve all the credit in the world.  We need to go back to work and look at what we want to do against teams like that down the road and kind of put it on a shelf, learn our lessons, as difficult as they are, and understand that we look forward to moving forward to the next game.  That's Wake Forest.  We'll be jumping on that field today looking forward to getting the kids back out there and focusing forward, learning from the past, and fighting the good fight.

Q.  Obviously Georgia Tech's play is the biggest thing that contributed to the loss, but do you think the switching schemes caused any confusion or hesitation from your kids or did you not think you got any of that?
SCOTT SHAFER:  No.  They blocked us better than we got off blocks.  You have to give credit where credit is due.  20/20 hindsight, maybe I would have had a little bit more ammunition in the package, but that's what it is, 20/20 hindsight.
Like I mentioned before, I got out‑coached, and that's going to happen from time to time.  I look forward to going up against them again whenever that day comes, and that's just the way it is.

Q.  I wanted to ask you about Dyshawn and George.  I know the Wake Forest game is still a ways away, but are those guys that you expect to see back for that game?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Dyshawn is doing good.  He's anxious to get back out there.  Again, we're going to try to slowly take it day by day and make sure all these kids are healthy before we ramp them up in full‑speed practice.  But he's showing great promise, and we expect to get him back.
And then George will be kind of a day by day thing, as well.  You've got a young guy at that running back position, we do have some depth there.  I don't want to throw him to the wolves until he's completely healed and do right by him as a young player and not put him in any jeopardy.
We'll take it day by day with both those guys, but we do look forward to both of them getting back on the field for us.

Q.  When you said that we expect to get Dyshawn back, just to clarify did you mean for Wake Forest or did you mean just in general soon?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Well, we're hoping to get him back for Wake Forest.

Q.  Talk about Brisly.  You seem really excited about what he can bring to the return game.  Should we expect to see him out there this week?
SCOTT SHAFER:  Well, you know, maybe‑‑ Ritchy Desir has done a great job in the punt game.  He's caught just about every punt you can catch.  There's a lot of non‑hidden yardage in those plays that Ritchy has put on the field.  I do have confidence that Brisly can be a guy, but I do think we'll just kind of see how things go in practice and see the sway of the game and the game plan, as well.
The biggest thing is just seek him out there running around playing football excites me because we do have big plans for him in the offensive side‑‑ from the offensive point of view, as well, and I think when a young player finds confidence, regardless if it's on offense, defense, kicking game, you feel good about his progress because it's a mental state that's as important as anything.  You can just see that he's anxious to get back on the field and confident that he can help us make plays, whether it be in the return game or on offense more.
We're kind of looking at it from the big picture that he's grown as a football player and that confidence should show up each week as he continues to progress.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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