first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ With their backs to the wall after losing to North Carolina State on Saturday, the Syracuse players and coaches united in the Carrier Dome locker room.The defeat meant the Orange has to win out in the regular season to be bowl eligible, but it didn’t stop safety Ritchy Desir from standing and addressing his team.“‘No matter what, we’re a family until the bitter end and we’ll just keep fighting,’” head coach Scott Shafer said in his Thursday morning press conference, reciting Desir’s message. “That’s who these kids are.”It was a senior who led that rally and it’ll be the Syracuse (3-6, 1-4 Atlantic Coast) seniors who say goodbye to the Carrier Dome after they host No. 22 Duke (7-1, 5-1) on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. SU will honor 28 players that have played a “big part” in the program, Shafer said, in a Senior Day ceremony before the game. Through the ups and downs this year has brought on, the Orange’s seniors have been reliable anchors. All four SU captains are seniors — two of them being fifth-year players.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It’ll be extremely emotional for a minute, then we’ve got to flip the switch and play football for the love of the game,” Shafer said, “because you want to be emotional and you want to be able to look at your experience after the fact. Because if you start contemplating all those things before, you’re going to get hit square in the chin and not play up to your ability level.“… But I’ve been pleased with the work ethic and the brotherhood across the table throughout the course of this week, knowing it’ll be a lot of kids’ last day in the Dome.”On Tuesday evening, left tackle Sean Hickey and linebacker Cameron Lynch, two of the captains, both acknowledged the sense of urgency they feel as the Orange approaches the final quarter of the schedule with no margin for error.But Shafer zoomed out and discussed the larger scope he likes to look at.To the head coach, it’s not so much about wins and losses.“… (It’s) more about the email you get from a kid saying, ‘Coach, remember when you didn’t think I could make it and then I did? And by the way, I have two children and a wonderful wife and I’m making a lot of money,’” Shafer said. “That’s what it’s about.” Comments Published on November 7, 2014 at 12:00 am Contact Phil: [email protected] | @PhilDAbblast_img