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November 27, 2013

Scott Shafer

COACH SHAFER:  First of all, great to be on.  We look forward to another Northeast rivalry matchup, and a new matchup in that it will be an ACC matchup now.  I think it's a great new beginning for the ACC conference.  You've taken an old rivalry game and going head‑to‑head against a great football team in Boston College.
With that, any questions.

Q.  You talked about that rivalry.  Steve Addazio has obviously had some history with Syracuse.  He's a fiery guy, likes to pump up his group.  Personality‑wise there's similarities.  What can you say about his coaching style, what you can expect from him?
COACH SHAFER:  They're a well‑coached football team.  He's done a great job over there.  I think we both appreciate what this game is, since to some degree we're humbled to be coaching in this game.
It's a game that we've all watched for years and years.  It's great to have that matchup back.  It's great to know that we'll have that matchup now that we're both back in the ACC.
It's a rivalry game.  It's a situation where you feel there's a lot of respect from both sides, both teams, and all the people that have watched these games for so many years up this way.

Q.  As far as Terrel Hunt finally got his first touchdown in the ACC, we've talked about him before, but what can you say about his development as this first‑year quarterback you've had so far?
COACH SHAFER:  I think it's still a work in progress.  I think he's done a nice job working hard to get better.  But as so many facets are at this point in time in our program, we're trying to just get better weekly, daily.  Terrel has been a good example of that.  He works hard at it.  He takes coaching.
But still a work in progress.  Really leads with his work ethic.

Q.  Can you give me an idea of your impression of what Drew Allen has brought to your team this year.
COACH SHAFER:  Yes.  Drew is a very good, hard‑working kid.  Loves the game of football.  Was looking for an opportunity to try to compete and play.
The thing I've been most proud of with Drew is even though things didn't work out the way I think he had hoped as far as getting the nod as the starter for the whole year, he's been a very good team player, very unselfish young man that's been brought up the right way by just two great parents.  Andy and Julie, they're high‑character individuals.
Even though there's some sting because it hasn't worked out maybe the way they had hoped, there's a lot of respect for the game that you can see by the way Drew has supported his team, been in a situation to be ready to go when called upon.
Really have appreciated his selfless approach to the game we both love so much.

Q.  Scott, you've taken an interest in local high school football and the local kids.  Did you get to work with Tyler Rouse kid at Boston College now?
COACH SHAFER:  First off, I didn't physically get to work with him in camps.  They've done a great job.  They have a wonderful coach over there who has been there forever.  He's an SU grad, a former player here.  I got to know Tyler through the recruiting process.
To be honest with you, fell in love with the kid.  The kid is just a great kid from Baldwinsville.  He played with Nick.  He set records.  He's a great player.  We just happen to be as deep as deep can be at runningback.  Didn't have the opportunity to offer him.
When he got the chance to get the Boston College offer, he was waiting for someone to give him that chance.  I was happy for him, I was very happy for him.  He's a good kid.  He works hard.  He's an impressive player.  Couldn't be happier.
He's got to carry the ball a couple times this year for them.  I think he's had maybe 17, 18 carries for 60 yards or something like that.
To be honest with you, I'm just happy for him.  I really am.  He's a great kid.  He's from the area here.  Like I said, we were just loaded up at runningback.  We had some other needs on this team.  We had to go out and offer kids at other positions.  So that's kind of how that went down in that recruiting.

Q.  Coach, I have to ask you.  Andre Williams has rushed for 900 yards in the last three games.  I think you're 27th in the nation.  Can you talk about defending him, the problems he presents.
COACH SHAFER:  Sure.  It will be a daunting task, a task that we're looking forward to putting in front of us.  But Coach Addazio, that offense, has done a great job.
They have a great back in Andre Williams.  He is definitely one of the best in the country, one of the best to play the college game.  He's going to end up being statistically in that situation where people are going to say, Holy cow, this kid was one of the best.  I think there's on 15 or 16 that have more yards in a single season than Andre does this year.
Like I said, it will be a difficult task and a great challenge for our kids to go out there and try to slow him down.
He's going to get his yards.  He's a great football player.  We just have to play good, sound defense and do a good job leveraging Andre and make those yards hard to come across.
But he's fun to watch on tape until you realize you got to try to defend him.  I've been around a lot of great tailbacks over the years.  I think about Michael Turner who played for us over at NIU.  Michael and Andre are similar:  good, strong backs with good breakaway speed.
Couldn't be more impressed with the kid.  He sounds like just a great person as well.  It will be a great task for us, but one that we're looking forward to as a challenge.

Q.  You are the only team in the ACC that still have bowl‑eligibility up in the air.  How big a factor is that as far as motivation, the one more win getting you into a bowl?
COACH SHAFER:  Well, it's big.  It really is.  That's one of those goals.
When we went into the season, we were picked down in the ACC rankings for this season pre‑season.  One of our big challenges was to find a way to get to bowl‑eligibility.
So here we are.  It's great to be playing a game that's meaningful in November.  How appropriate that we have our seniors' last game in the Dome against an old northeast rival.  What better way to go at it and try to finish the season with reaching that goal.

Q.  You alluded to the nature of this rivalry.  Is it your hope that the league recognizes that and makes this be a rival game for both teams, meaning the end‑of‑season finale for both teams?
COACH SHAFER:  I'll let my higher‑ups make those decisions.  I do think it could become something that's really neat.  We can really spice up that flavor of the northeast in the ACC by making this one of those games that everybody is looking at.
I know Coach Addazio and his staff would probably feel the same way.  We got great respect for the programs up in this part of the country.  We're fighting our buns off to earn that type of respect in the ACC.  It will be a great challenge from year to year.
I think it would be a great thing.  I know the ACC people are hopeful that that will be something that people can look at and say, Hey, this is a great matchup, just like the other rivalries in the conference.

Q.  I know you probably have the unique ability to comment on this.  Still not having seen Andre in person, you've seen Tajh Boyd, these are two of the top offensive players.  If you had your vote, where would you cast that right now?
COACH SHAFER:  It would be a tough vote.  We have great players in this conference, the two you mentioned.  Jameis Winston.  It would be a toss‑up there.
I love the run game.  I have great respect for tailbacks.  I think you have to be the toughest of the tough to play that position, especially the way Andre has run the ball 320 times.  You got to be a tough guy.
I'd have a hard time not heavily considering making him my number one vote because I think what he does week‑to‑week with that many carries is extremely impressive.

Q.  What they do, Boston College with Andre Williams, it's not like they're disguising the fact they're going to give it to No.44.
COACH SHAFER:  No.  But you've got to give him a lot of credit, too.
Three things:
We know Andre is a great player.
Second thing is, if you watch their offensive line, they are one of the better offensive lines in the country.
The third thing, Coach Addazio and his staff, from a scheme point of view, have done a great job.  Even though it doesn't seem to the blind eye on the outside as anything more than just handing it off right and left, there's a lot more to it.
They're running as many ways as possible, creating different surfaces on either side of the line where you have to get lined up and be sound about where you are when you get there.  Once you get settled in on when you're set and ready to go, they'll switch the strength to the other side real quick, snap it fast, run some other scheme that's related to those power gap schemes, football schemes, but they're drastically different from the point of view of how to defend it.
Different people coming at different angles.  That's where I think they've done a great job with their scheme.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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