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Curtis Harper: Patience and Virginia Tech

Syracuse defensive lineman discusses coming into his role on the defense and upcoming matchup against Virginia Tech

In a world where most Instagram captions are phony and fake, Syracuse defensive lineman Curtis Harper decides to speak truth to his collegiate career for the Orange.

“I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t patient.”

The saying great things come to those who wait, could not be more true for Curtis Harper. The redshirt junior credits his patience for the overall development of his game. Throughout his collegiate career, Harper worked his way from redshirt, to reserve, to the rotation, to a now prominent role on the Syracuse defensive line.

“Patience helped me learn what I need to do to get on the field,” Harper said. “Patience helped me get on the field.”

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Improving in reading offenses, reading linemen, using his hands, and his swag has paid off tremendously for Harper. The on field swag of Harper correlates to the evolution of his development here at Syracuse. The baggy one sleeve that usually matches the team's color uniform for the game is now well regarded in the locker room.

The explosive nose tackle has provided a stout presence for the Orange rush defense this year. The Orange defense are currently ranked number four in the ACC in defending the run, only allowing 3.1 yards per carry. However, the team's performance on defense has not allowed them to stop the three game skid going into the Virginia Tech game this Saturday.

The loss to Clemson was a heartbreaking one, Harper said. The game being boiled down to close possessions this season has shown the difficulty the Orange have finishing games. Not being able to pull out games has left players standing in disbelief this season. The mentality of the Orange after losing to Clemson is to put the loss behind us, Harper said. A short memory is not always the best memory, but in sports, it is.

The Orange have depth at every position on defense, especially the defensive line. Rotating players such as Curtis Harper, Josh Black, Cody Roscoe, Kingsley Johnathan, Caleb Okechukwu, and McKinley Williams make it hard for battered down offensive linemen to block someone fresh every few plays. The strategy of having a good defensive line makes the job easier for your backers and your secondary. Virginia Tech, being one of the worst offenses in the ACC will have to encounter not only the fierce pressure of the Orange defensive line but the starving and lurking secondary of the Orange.

The matchup between Syracuse and Virginia Tech this Saturday will be the first since 2016. In 2016, the Orange beat the Hokies 31-17 in the Dome. This time the Orange will be traveling to Lane Stadium to the renown “Enter Sandman.”