August 8, 2010

Marrone will look to Smith for leadership

Heading into year two Doug Marrone's top returning unit on the football field is linebackers. The group features senior leader Derrell Smith. On Sunday afternoon Smith talked a little about the offseason and the upcoming season.

"It is crazy to think that I have been here for five years. I just can't wait to get out there and put the pads on for the last camp that I will have at Syracuse. I just can't wait," Smith said.

Heading into the 2010 season the Syracuse defense will be looked at as the strength of the team and that is something Smith knows. The fact that the defense was strong a season ago has the starting linebacker looking for improvement out of the group to make sure they are better.

"As far as the defense we are looking forward to this a lot and we want to start off where we left off last year. Hopefully we improve now that we are a year into the system. We are looking to improve on last years efforts."

Smith might be looking for his defense to keep improving, but there is one other item that is at the top of his list for this season.

"We are looking to win a bowl game. That's the goal every year, but honestly this year I feel we have a good chance to do that."

The goal is more than just going to a bowl, but winning the bowl.

"It would be no fun if you get there and lose. Our expectations are not just to get to a bowl game and lose it. We are going to be there to win it," Smith said. "I don't want to leave here without a ring on my finger. You only get to play college football once and it would make my day and my college career if I could leave here with a bowl game win."

A push for post season play starts with the players and their dedication. This offseason the players did just that as they stepped up their focus.

"The offseason has been a lot of hard work. People have been getting up at 5:30 a.m. to run and lift. There has been a lot of hard work. We just want to get out there and translate that hard work to the field. You want to show what you have been doing the whole summer. Honestly, I think we are going to do a good job of doing that."

The overall focus might have not been there in years past, but Smith feels that this offseason was different and they paid more attention to maximizing their workouts.

"We took the seven-on-sevens and other things a lot more seriously this offseason. The seniors did a good job of leading the young guys and the freshmen out there, so they could set the tone early. I think we did a good job of doing that."

When practice gets underway on Monday Smith knows his defense will be ready to go, so what he is looking for will be on the offensive side of the ball.

"I can't wait to see the quarterback competition that should be a good one. Both of the quarterbacks who were here this summer look good. We have a couple freshmen that look good as well."

Last season Smith led the Orange with 82 tackles of those tackles he had six sacks and ten and a half tackles for a loss.

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