Syracuse coach Doug Marrone was still smarting over his team's loss to Rutgers on Monday, because he felt his team simply gave the game away.
Turnovers and special teams mistakes really did the Orange in. But his main focus headed into Saturday's game against Tulane is to make sure one loss doesn't turn into two. So he is going to give his team a little history lesson this week, complete with examples from famous people who perfected the art of perseverance.
"People like Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and all the failure they've had in their past and how they succeeded by working hard, keeping their level of focus," Marrone said. "[We'll] give them some more stuff they can relate to a little bit more with the NFL and players that might have been undrafted that became starters in the league, or teams that didn't perform well to a certain point then all of a sudden the level of focus went up. So basically trying to work on making sure our kids' minds are in the right place and to work extremely hard with a high level of focus."
Opening the pages of a history book might help, but the loss itself could serve as motivation as well. After the game, quarterback Ryan Nassib said the offense was humbled because of the way Rutgers forced them out of their comfort zone. Antwon Bailey ended up fumbling in overtime to give Rutgers the win. During his postgame news conference, the entire offensive line stood behind him as a sign of solidarity.
"Our kids are out there trying," Marrone said. "They're not trying to make mistakes. It goes to show you the type of communication and the type of accountability that they have and how we rely on one another."
If there was one bright spot in the loss, it was the defense. Despite missing several veterans and starters, Syracuse's defense played its best game of the season, forcing four turnovers and giving up 302 yards of total offense. Dyshawn Davis had an incredible game, with two sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Marrone also spoke highly of Cameron Lynch and Siriki Diabate. He also is hopeful starting safety Shamarko Thomas and backup Olando Fisher will be back this week. Defensive end Chandler Jones has been cleared for limited practice, but won't play this week.
"Defensively, we played well enough to win the game," Marrone said. "We had some younger kids that were playing and stepped up, made some good decisions on packages for the players. ... It feels good to know the younger players are getting better. Were playing faster, that's the one thing you see. Defensively, that's what you want."