Syracuse Orange football coach Dino Babers addressed fans and media this afternoon on Facebook Live and Cuse.TV. While the primary goal, as always, was previewing this week’s upcoming game (against the Virginia Tech Hokies), he did dive into some additional topics.
As we know, injuries have been stacking up for the Orange since the offseason, and haven’t quit through six games this year. The biggest ongoing concern is with the offensive line, which makes this news rather disconcerting:
Syracuse coach Dino Babers said two of Emerich, Palmer and Conway are likely done for the year. Declined to specify who could return.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) October 10, 2016
Babers hasn’t shared any details about these injuries since all three players went down several weeks ago. Losing any offensive lineman is not ideal, but of these three, Omari Palmer may be the biggest hit should he miss the rest of the season. While Jason Emerich is obviously a major piece of the puzzle at center, Colin Byrne’s done an admirable job filling in thus far. You hate to play this card, but it will benefit the team next year that the young Byrne is getting all of these snaps.
Syracuse coach Dino Babers said he's still waiting for WR Jamal Custis to be 100%. Unclear if he'll redshirt but he did travel to WFU.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) October 10, 2016
Elsewhere, Jamal Custis remains out, which undoubtedly has some effect on the passing game — especially in the red zone. Custis’s ability to go get jump balls near the goal line had the potential to finally come to fruition this season. However, the junior wide receiver has yet to see the field. A redshirt year for him would be ideal at this point, really, as the Orange lose two starting wide receivers (Brisly Estime, Amba Etta-Tawo) after 2016.
Kendall Coleman targeting call
From Babers: "I think it was a bang-bang play. I think it could've been called either way." Syracuse has appealed the ruling, which if upheld, would keep the freshman defensive end out for the first half of the Virginia Tech game this Saturday.
Doubling down on the run game
Right after the loss to Wake Forest, Babers told media he had wanted to run more in the second half. Today, he reiterated as much, to the surprise of some fans.
Syracuse coach Dino Babers reiterates SU should've run more early at Wake Forest. The hits Dungey took limited passing game in 2nd half.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) October 10, 2016
There’s a point to that, clearly, though one could counter that a lot of Dungey’s hits came from him running the football (rather than throwing it). Dungey was 16-for-25 for 156 yards passing, while the team ran the ball 40 times (18 by Dungey) for 158 yards. So while Babers’s point holds some weight, it’s more accurate to say that Dungey should be avoiding taking off/taking hits more to help that pass game.