Strong talks Rutgers, Syracuse and Anthony Conner

Charlie Strong addressed the media today about last Friday's victory over Rutgers, Saturday's big game against Syracuse, and status of injured senior cornerback Anthony Conner. Video will be available later, but for now here are the highlights:

--Very excited about a victory over a very good Rutgers team. If this team can continue to play with confidence and learn to trust each other, they can really build off of this win.

--Extremely impressed by the fact that the offensive line gave up zero sacks against a front four that was leading the league in sacks.

--Anthony Conner had surgery today at Jewish Hospital to help stabilize his cervical fracture. He was in good spirits this morning. He talked about how he would give anything to play against Syracuse. Expects him to be released from the hospital at some point this week. Wants to get him back around his team as quickly as possible.

--Conner has feeling in all his extremities.

--There's no playoff in the Big East, and he knows his team is still right there in the thick of things. With a young team you can't look ahead though, so he hasn't even talked to them about the conference race. You have to treat every game as a one week season when you have a team this young. 

--Syracuse is very good and it's going to take another huge effort at home this week to beat them. They might be the most balanced overall team in the league.

--"It's been five years since we've won back-to-back conference games...that's a long, long time."

--Huge game for the offensive line not only because they didn't allow any sacks, but because we finally got a 100-yard rusher (Jeremy Wright).

--Teddy did a great job of managing the game with the exception of getting the delay of game penalty in the fourth quarter.

--He will get with the seniors later today to see what they want to do to honor Conner.

--Can't say enough about Coach Schiano and the support Rutgers offered when Anthony went down.

--Talked to Coach Schiano at length yesterday about how to handle a team after an injury like this.

--The team didn't know how serious the injury was at that point, so maintaining focus wasn't that much of an issue. He himself didn't know it was a broken neck until the 4th quarter. Didn't tell the team until after the game.

--We were in the same position we were in against Cincinnati, so for us to hold the lead and win the game is a huge building block for this team. There are going to be a lot of close games from here on out, so we have to build on that.

--Biggest change from the start of the season to now is that a lot of the younger guys have really stepped up.

--This was the time of the year Jeremy Wright stepped up last season, and he really hopes he can duplicate that success and build off of what he did on Friday.

--Had a team meeting on Thursday where the players could air out their feelings. Told the team that he was tired of telling them what they needed to do, that he wasn't seeing enough passion and that it seemed like some of the guys didn't like each other. A lot of the guys said what needed to be said.

--If Dexter Heyman isn't in class, he's downstairs watching tape. We need more guys who are willing to do that.

--Practiced last night and the team had a little more juice coming off of the win. We have to learn how to play coming off of success. We obviously didn't learn after the Kentucky game.

--No other major injuries coming out of the Rutgers game besides Conner.

--Strong's contract extension was offered over the summer, but there were some things he needed to get done before that could be finalized.

--Anthony's attitude has been remarkable. Hasn't panicked, hasn't developed a "woe is me" attitude or anything. He was a little nervous this morning until the doctor explained exactly what was going to happen. He does understand that he's never going to play football again.

--Has not decided whether or not Shenard Holton will be back this week.

--Vic Anderson is doing everything we're asking him to do. Even if he isn't getting the ball, he's helping Jeremy out and into the game. He's a terrific leader for this football team.

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