The offensive line was the subject of a lot of criticism for Syracuse's loss at Cincinnati. There were a lot of penalties that continue to plague the offense. Rob Trudo believes there were still positives to take away from that game, while working towards correcting the problems.
"I think we did a solid job as far as moving the ball and running the ball," Trudo said. "We played physical and fast. As far as penalties, we just have to cut that out. Us a team, us as a unit. We have to limit the penalties. It just takes more focus. We all vowed to each other to focus in and won't have any penalties this week. No false starts.
"I'm not so sure what causes the penalties. I'm a young player so I haven't been around the game that long. If you ask me, I think the pace contributes a little. Then again, there's still no excuse for penalties. You're shooting yourself in the foot and we can't do that.
Despite the loss last week, the confidence of the team remains high. Their focus is to try and take out a top-10 team that has not lost in 2012.
"The confidence of this team is the same as it's been all season, very high," Trudo claimed. "Obviously we wanted to win at Cincinnati. This week, against Louisville, we're going to do everything we can to beat Louisville.
"We're always excited to play. Whether it's Louisville or Stony Brook, it's the same mindset. We have to go in there and be physical. Limit turnovers and penalties, and play to win."
Rob Trudo came into Syracuse with a lot of potential. He spent his freshman season watching and learning as he redshirted. Now, as a redshirt freshman, he is a major contributor as a starting guard. But things didn't start out as well as he had hoped.
"Early on in the season it was very difficult," Trudo explained. "Being a first year player and coming into this offense. As time went on, I gained experience and reps. I feel like I've become a better player. Every week I talk to Coach Hack (Nathaniel Hackett) about what I can do to get better. I work on that and it shows up in the game. So I think that's the biggest thing is that I have been improving each week."
There is an area of his game that was already solid coming out of high school as he was already skilled as a run blocker. Since his insertion into the starting lineup, the Syracuse running game has taken off. In the last three weeks, the Orange has averaged 212 rushing yards per game. Part of the reason has been the emergence of Jerome Smith. Trudo says the line enjoys blocking for him.
"It would be nice to have a thousand yard rusher," Trudo said. "Jerome's a tough runner. He deserves it. We just like to block and he makes it easy for us."
One of the areas Trudo has been working to improve is his pass blocking. One of the reasons he did started the season as the backup to Ivan Foy was pass protection. He has worked very hard at improving that throughout the season.
"Pass blocking is a big focus," Trudo described. "Especially after the USC game, and early in those weeks, that was a big focus for me. During that bye week I really worked hard with Coach (Doug) Marrone and Coach Ad (Greg Adkins). We finally got it straightened out and I keep getting better."
Part of the reason for Trudo's development has been the leadership and guidance of some of the veterans on the offensive line. Zack Chibane and Justin Pugh have been a big help to the redshirt freshman.
"Having those guys out there, and Macky MacPherson too, those guys' experience that has been bestowed on me has been great," Trudo recalled. "Zack Chibane really took me under his wing this summer. I don't know if anybody knows that but we did a lot of footwork and other things together. I spent a lot of time with him because we knew I was going to play guard this year.
"Just having guys like that that's been there, it makes this process a lot easier. Sometimes Coach Ad will explain something to me and I won't get it. Chibane or Pugh or Macky can sit there and tell me and then it makes sense. It's definitely a bonus to have them. I'm very thankful for that."