Marquis Spruill believes the loss to USC was actually Syracuse’s best game of the season.¬†The Fizz caught up with the man in the middle of the SU defense, who also said it’s a sign the team is building.
‚ÄúThere were a couple of things – the penalties hurt us a lot. We could have made a few big plays and didn‚Äôt because of missed assignments. They were the better team, but we still had things we had to fix and we need to work on.‚Äù
Getting Chandler Jones back¬†would be an enormous help. Number-99 has missed the past two weeks with a ‚Äúlower body injury,‚Äù but the hope around the team is he’ll be back Saturday.
‚ÄúWe really miss Chan out on the field. It‚Äôs just. He‚Äôs just Chan. He‚Äôs that personality. He‚Äôs just… Chan is Chan! Everyone knows who Chandler Jones is. (laughs) A couple times during the game he‚Äôll do something funny and it‚Äôll make me laugh when I‚Äôm tryin’ to be serious. It kinda helps you relax.‚Äù
With Jones out, Spruill has stepped up as a vocal leader. He told The Fizz that‚Äôs not really his style. He likes to lead by example, but in recent weeks he‚Äôs found himself being more vocal.
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Against Rhode Island,¬†Orange fans were frustrated Rams QB Steve Probst scrambled at will. This week Toledo has a mobile quarterback in Terrance Owens who doesn‚Äôt need an excuse to use his legs. Spruill says the Orange isn‚Äôt overreacting, but is preparing this week in practice.
‚ÄúI wouldn‚Äôt say it’s a focus, but we‚Äôve gameplanned for it. We‚Äôve gameplanned so that if we need a spy or something we‚Äôll have it. I can spy the quarterback.‚Äù
The linebacking corps has been a hot topic of discussion all season.¬†So far the unit has played pretty well despite a severe lack of experience. Part of that is Spruill being back at his natural position. When The Fizz asked him about the move back to middle linebacker, his face lit up like Rockafeller Center in December.
‚ÄúI‚Äôm good! I‚Äôm back home! I‚Äôve been playin’ that my whole life. It‚Äôs like ‘aaah… I‚Äôm back.’‚Äù
The most discussed of those linebackers freshman Dyshawn Davis, who is filling the void Spruill left on the weak side. The Fizz has been impressed with Davis despite some expected mistakes. We asked Spruill where Davis has to grow.
‚ÄúHe could be a lot better. He still has a few things mentally he has to get right. But from a playing standpoint, he‚Äôs athletic, he‚Äôs trying to make plays. Sometimes he‚Äôll have a brainfart here and there. He‚Äôll mess up somethin and be like, ‘oh I forgot.’ But that‚Äôs what happens with a freshman. I did the same thing last year.‚Äù
If Davis follows in Spruill‚Äôs footsteps, he‚Äôll get better every game and be able to really hone his skills in the off-season. Spruill had help thoughout last year from seniors Doug Hogue and Derrelle Smith, both on and off the field.
‚ÄúThey were here a lot longer than me, so they knew¬†all¬†the tricks of the trade. I know a couple. They handed me down a couple of ’em. Where they hide the donuts at before the meetings and stuff. I help him (Dyshawn) out as best I can, and anything I can‚Äôt I just tell him to go to coach.‚Äù
The Fizz also asked Spruill how the Orange plans to contain Toledo WR Eric Page¬†a week after struggling with USC‚Äôs Robert Woods, and¬†nearly taking Woods‚Äô head off when the Trojan‚Äôs headgear went flying through the air. Listen to the entire interview with Marquis this Saturday on¬†Orange Fizz Radio at 9 a.m. on The Score 1260.
Posted: Craig Hoffman