Syracuse freshman defensive back Duce Chestnut had a spectacular debut in a 29-9 win at Ohio on Saturday. Chestnut finished with eight tackles, a team-high five solo tackles, one interception and one pass breakup. Chestnut spoke to the media after the game.
Q: Take me through your interception from the presnap read all the way through the celebration,
Duce Chestnut: "It's a dream come true, you know? Worked all summer for this, worked all my life for this, really. I just had to get an interception. It was for my man that died back at home, Foopie. It's what I had in the back of my mind."
Q: What led to your success helping in the run game?
Chestnut: "Just my style of play, being physical. Coach White and coach West, that's very important to them. Coming down and making an impact on the run is big for us."
Q: Did it feel like they were challenging you early in the run game?
Chestnut: "I wouldn't say they were really challenging me, just their play calls. Definitely big for me to come down and make an impact on the run game."
Q: Dino said he got on you after the first play on the sidelines.
Chestnut: "Oh yeah. After the first play, he told me to wrap up. Then I had an open field tackle and I wrapped up. Then he gave me the thumbs up."
Q: How did you contain yourself emotionally?
Chestnut: "I know it's a long game. I know I was going to be able to make plays. I know they're going to make some plays. Just keep my head in the game and being focused."
Q: How did you envision this game going and how did it compare to the high school level?
Chestnut: "Definitely everything's faster than the high school level. Envisioned this game? Me and Garrett have been talking about this all summer. All summer. Just coming out, locking up, and doing our parts."
Q: How good is it in the locker room right now?
Chestnut: "It's great. That team last year, that's last year. It's a new team this year, a new goal. We're going to come out and be better."
Q: How did being here in the spring and summer help prepare you for this?
Chestnut: "Oh it definitely helped me. Definitely helped me stay focused, learn the playbook a little faster, get into the college level a little faster. Definitely helped me a lot. Definitely having a lot of reps and having Garrett as a leader for me, definitely helped me a lot."
Q: How do you think your play helped today?
Chestnut: "Just the energy. My play is come down and be physical, and just the energy. The defense felt the energy. They got in the red zone a lot but couldn't score. That's the energy and being with the defense together."
Q: What did you see on the fourth down breakup?
Chestnut: I just saw the ball and made a play. Me and Garrett were talking about this last night. If we get a chance to make a play on fourth down, we have to make it so we can celebrate as a team."
Q: Dino said he cannot recall a freshman defensive back having as good a debut as you had. How would you assess how you did?
Chestnut: "Me just coming out and playing my game. Just being prepared. I was here since the spring so I was more focused and being able to prepare for this game. It's going to be more to come on."
Q: Did you expect it to be this good?
Chestnut: "I knew I was going to get a lot of play, a lot of chances to make plays. I'm glad I was able to answer and definitely did expect this."
Q: Anything you think you need to improve on?
Chestnut: "Definitely a lot to improve on. Just come out and be better next game."