first_img Published on September 26, 2010 at 12:00 pm The goal for both Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone and Marquis Spruill, when the freshman linebacker is starting at the strong side linebacker position, is disruption. Marrone knows it from his NFL days: Raw talent can bring disruption. Any element of havoc that linebacker can provide for SU is welcome. ‘I see flashes of it,’ Marrone said. Syracuse defensive stalwarts Derrell Smith and Doug Hogue bring the knowledge and experience. They bring the known commodity. Spruill is the unknown. But when he is on, Marrone knows he can bring that havoc. And his havoc yields an ideal — and perhaps the best — Big East linebacking corps. When all three are on, it becomes a perfect storm flying at ball carriers. Saturday, Spruill did his part, tallying a team-leading 12 tackles on the game, matching the exact mark he registered in total throughout SU’s first three games. Spruill said the performance was enabled by thinking less and playing faster, something that is usually hard for first-year linebackers.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text ‘You get caught up in your head, and you don’t do everything as fast as you normally do it,’ Spruill said. ‘So I went out there and just played football today and had a lot of fun doing it.’ Even with the performance, Spruill said it was one that overcame a heightened level of frustration for him. With the deliberate Colgate offense constantly challenging Spruill with option reads and ball fakes, the freshman’s playing demeanor became one of restlessness. Good restlessness, though, as he and the SU defense were on the field for 32:52 through the game’s first three quarters. That restlessness yielded Spruill’s nose for the ball, as he made 11 of his 12 tackles in the first three quarters. ‘It was getting frustrating because it was hard for us to compete,’ Spruill said, ‘because they were holding on to the ball for so long. It was getting to the point where some people were getting mad because we want the three-and-out.’ Most of the time, the three-and-outs didn’t surface. But Spruill did what he needed to, taking that raw talent and using it to disrupt. And Saturday’s disruption is just the first step to Spruill becoming that third experienced backer like his senior counterparts. Saturday was the greatest flash yet. Said Marrone: ‘Overall performance for a freshman playing his position has been very, very good. He has played very, very well for us.’ Colgate in control Colgate’s attempted and choreographed control of the tempo of Saturday’s game was obvious. The three-to-one advantage in time of possession over Syracuse was indicative of that. But that is not where the control of the ball ended. After the game, Colgate head coach Dick Biddle made it clear he felt his team controlled the ball for the entirety of the game Saturday. It filtered into the rushing and passing game for the Raiders, well beyond the time of possession. ‘I think we controlled the ball for close to 40 minutes,’ Biddle said. ‘I think we ran the ball. I think our passing game was a lot better. I thought we controlled the line of scrimmage. I think we’re a step or two away from breaking a lot of big plays.’ It was most apparent to Biddle at that line of scrimmage, where the Raiders head coach said his team dominated the line. The game was closer, thanks to the control, than the 42-7 drubbing of a score between the two teams. ‘I don’t think the score is indicative of what the game was,’ Biddle said. ‘But that’s what happens. You kind of get worn out, but I think we need to build on it with the positives.’ The numbers were a facade to the head coach. The Raiders controlled the line of scrimmage more so than SU did, despite giving up a career-high 172 yards rushing for SU’s Delone Carter. This was the case, even though they gave up an average of 11.8 yards per carry to Carter and SU freshman running back Prince-Tyson Gulley. This was the case, albeit the 18 fewer rushing yards his team gained than SU (260 to 242) with 23 more attempts. Maybe it was told through Colgate’s win on first downs (23 to 20). But that is just one number. Most of the numbers refuted Biddle’s claims. His running back, Nate Eachus — who averaged 4.2 yards per rush attaining 147 rushing yards — agreed with him. But Eachus did fault the defense. That is where the game was lost. ‘I think we controlled the ball a lot more than they did,’ Eachus said. ‘Our game plan every week is to pound the ball, but our defense struggled a little bit and couldn’t really help us out.’ [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

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