Football

Diabate provides depth at linebacker; Marrone stresses keeping team focused for opener

CORRECTION: In a previous version of this article, Siriki Diabate’s name was misspelled. The Daily Orange regrets this error. 

Doug Marrone listed the names of his linebackers one-by-one. While it sounded like the Orange has significant depth at the position, the Syracuse head coach views that as deceptive.

Marrone said the actual depth at the position is still to be determined.

Siriki Diabate is starting at middle linebacker, Marquis Spruill at strong-side and Dyshawn Davis at weak-side. Included in the mix of linebackers off the bench are Dan Vaughan, Cameron Lynch and Dom Anene.

“That’s one group, it may look like there’s a lot of depth, but that’s probably it right there,” Marrone said in the Big East coaches’ teleconference Monday. “It’s going to be very important to see how those players play and we have to get a lot of production out of them.”

The 6-foot, 230-pound Spruill started at middle linebacker and finished last season with 43 tackles and three sacks.

The SU coaches moved Spruill to the outside to get the best three starters on the field, and they decided to put the 5-foot-10, 220-pound Diabate in the middle.

Diabate, a senior, played in 11 games last season and started two. He made 24 tackles and had one sack in 2011.

When Spruill was out with an upper-body injury in the spring, Diabate stepped in and proved to Marrone he deserved a starting job during preseason camp.

“I think Siriki’s done a good job,” Marrone said. “He’s really worked extremely hard and did an excellent job for us in the spring when Marquis Spruill was out. We feel fortunate to have him in there, and obviously he has to keep playing the way he has.”

Keeping focused

Game week officially began Monday for Syracuse. Marrone said much of the attention in the days leading up to Saturday’s game against Northwestern will involve keeping the younger players and transfers focused on their responsibilities.

Getting too caught up in the hype of their first collegiate game will only cloud their attention.

“We talk to them a little bit about it, just as an overall team, no one specifically,” Marrone said. “The individual coaches pretty much handle it. But we try to get those players to go out there and play with a great sense of focus.”

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