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July 22, 2021

Airon Servais

Charlotte, North Carolina, USA

Syracuse Orange

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Obviously a new offensive line coach this year coming from San Diego State. How has he been so far? What have you learned from him?

AIRON SERVAIS: Coach Schmidt has been great. He has made a couple tweaks and stuff technique-wise and scheme-wise. The biggest thing he's brought to our offense and offensive line is a shift in mentality. We really want to get after guys, get off the ball, really attack me. So that's what I'd say, yeah.

Q. Keeping with that line, we've seen a lot of shifting. You played multiple roles. Do you feel in 2021 we're starting to firm up where certain guys are going to be? How would you describe the makeup of this offensive line?

AIRON SERVAIS: I would say we're definitely starting to firm up people's roles. We have the entire line from last year coming back. Being able to know what we're doing, have that extra year of chemistry, I think it's been really good for us up front.

I feel good about the spring that we had. I thought a lot of guys developed a lot. I'm really excited to see how that development continues during camp and going into the season.

Q. Tell us what it takes to make the change from center to left tackle, even to right tackle? You've seen time at all three. To the average fan, they would say maybe it doesn't take a whole lot of transition.

AIRON SERVAIS: Yeah, I think the biggest thing for me is being at center and starting there, I kind of need to know what everyone is doing at all times so I can make the right calls up front.

By the time that I had moved to tackle, I kind of knew what the assignments were. I played tackle in the past. I had played tackle when I first got here. That's the position I originally came in at. So it's not like I was a stranger to any of that stuff.

Q. I asked Josh, Why come back? For you, 1-10, you spent a lot of time at Syracuse, why did you feel like you needed to come back and put this on your shoulders?

AIRON SERVAIS: Yeah, in making that decision I think it really came down to three things for me. One, there's a lot of uncertainty of what that draft process would look like this past year, whether it would be senior games, if there would even be a combine, things like that. That certainly played a role.

Two, I was this close to finishing my master's. To be able to come back and finish that up is really huge.

Lastly, I know Josh talked about it a lot, that season last year left a bad taste in our mouths. Especially being seniors, we're the leaders of the team, we put a lot of the weight of that season on our shoulders.

That's certainly not the way we wanted to leave our legacy, the 2020 legacy. Yeah, we definitely wanted to come back and right some wrongs.

Q. I'd like to speak about your backup quarterback as of now, Garrett Shrader. We know about his ability to run the ball. As a lineman, being as experienced as y'all are, how comforting is that to have a guy potentially like that that could come into the huddle, take advantage of this offense?

AIRON SERVAIS: Yeah, I mean, Garrett is definitely a talented guy. He's actually my roommate right now, so I've gotten to spend a lot of time with him.

Yeah, I mean, it doesn't really matter who's behind us. Up front, if we can't keep him standing upright, really doesn't matter how talented they are. There's definitely a lot of talent in that room. Good to see those guys competing. But we got to do our job up front so those guys can really shine.

Q. I feel like the Syracuse crowd hasn't gotten a great representation of how good Florida transfer Chris Bleich is. What do you expect from him in 2021?

AIRON SERVAIS: Yeah, I think he's developed a lot since he got here. It's been great to see him going through practices and getting in those team periods and practice and all that.

He's a really talented guy. He's a big, strong dude. Yeah, I'm excited to see how his development continues.

Q. Offensive lineman, you don't really gather any stats, hear your name over the PA system. Why do you like being a lineman so much?

AIRON SERVAIS: I think that's part of the thing I do like about it. I embrace the pressure a little bit. The only real stats that you do have are all the bad stats, right? I love the position. I love how gritty it is.

We are hitting someone every single play. I love that. I embrace that. It takes a lot of physical ability, it takes a lot of mental ability. I just really embrace the challenge every single play.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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