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Exclusive Quotes from the ACC Kickoff

The Fizz is back in Charlotte for the 2022 ACC Kickoff. We covered Syracuse at the event and asked a plethora of questions in an exclusive opportunity. Here are some answers to various questions from Matthew Bergeron, Mikel Jones, and Garrett Shrader.

Matthew Bergeron

On Robert Anae’s sytem “This system is made for our athletes, the system is built around our athletes, so that’s really exciting.” 

On Syracuse OL Coach MIke Schmidt “Coach Schmidt puts you with guys in practice that you’re not used to working with. When it comes down to the end of the season where you got to play with a dude you’ve never played with, you’re already on the same page we got the same communication style and stuff.”

On offensive line improvement: “It was a great step last year. I think Coach Schmidt is the biggest part of that. We’re building off of our success last year in the run game and I’m really excited about next season.”

On depth of the OL room: “We’re 8-9 deep. We got a lot of young guys that really stepped up in spring ball. We got a great rotation going, guys are healthy compared to the last two years. We got 8-9 guys who are ready to play and are healthy.”

On why OL depth will be important: “It’s gonna help us down the stretch when we got guys, knock on wood, going down and all that, it’ll definitely help us.”

On his best attribute: “My attention to detail in technique. I look at details like linebackers being on their toes when they’re blitzing or d-linemen having a weight on their hand when they’re running a stunt. So it’s all about focusing on details.”

On OL Carlos Vettorello“He’s back and ready to go man. We lost Carlos at an important point of our season last year. We definitely felt that the right side was a little bit shaky without Carlos. With him being back and other guys healthy, it’ll definitely help us.”

More on Vettorello: “He’s definitely a versatile piece, right now he’s doing both. From what he’s told me, he’s definitely feeling more comfortable at tackle. But he’s the type of guy that can help us wherever and whenever.”

Mikel Jones

On senior class: “Everyone I came in with in 2019, it’s kind of what we’ve been talking about, like this would be the perfect way to go out. We’ve seen everything we can see in this conference and now it’s about putting it all together and going out with a bang.”

On Sean Tucker: “You think a guy like that can’t get any better, but he’s gotten better. He’s gonna show the world.”  

On Sean Tucker “If you come to practice thinking you can get through with half effort, he’s going to make you lace up your cleats real fast and get locked in. Doing that day in and day out, knowing we’re not going to see another running back like him this season honestly, it makes us better.”

3rd down D in the Dome “It’s a pride thing, you gotta respect the Dome, respect the fans, and respect the student section, they give us a lot of energy.”

Marlowe: He’s gotten stronger and he’s switched his body completely. You might not even notice when he goes out there he’s slimmer but he also weighs the same and he’s faster and more explosive. You’re gonna see a lot of Marlowe Wax this year.”

On growth: “A lot of people wanted to see my lower body gain mass which I have done. I’m weighing 231 pounds now.”

On linebacking core: “We call ourselves the force, you’re gonna see the force in action in the first game. I’m really excited to play with those guys one more time.”

D-Line: “You guys should be hugely confident in those guys. Those guys worked hard all offseason. Regarding Steve (Linton) and Caleb (Okechukwu), they’ve been here since Alton Robinson, Kendall Coleman, they’ve seen a lot of good guys come through here. Us going into our senior year, they understand what needs to be done.”

On nutrition program: “I feel like the nutrition program can be better. I feel like we’re behind compared to a lot of people. Nutrition is important for a lot of dudes coming out of high school and not knowing how to take care of their bodies moving at the level we move at all year long like through the offseason, through the summer, through the training camp. I feel like a nutritionist could take this program to the next level.”

Garrett Shrader

On offense: “Seven practices into spring, we were three times the offense we were last year and I mean that genuinely. And half the time we didn’t even know what we were doing.”

On wide receivers: “We got guys that are young and are talented and they can go, they just need the opportunity. When you throw the ball 12, 13 times a game you’re not really stressing anybody on defense and when you’re only throwing the ball on 3rd and long its going to be hard to do anything.”

 On improving in red zone “Biggest thing is just being efficient and getting there. That’s the first thing we work on in practice now is red zone. We’re continuing to work the air raid system and finding space.”

On improving on third down conversions: “Last year it felt like every drive we were in 3rd and long. You look up its 3rd and 12, it’s almost impossible to convert highly on those when you’re in it so often. We were in there all the time.”

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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