Syracuse Orange football coach Dino Babers addressed the media on Monday, as he typically does each week. After the bye week, he spoke about SU’s upcoming game vs. the Clemson Tigers (though no mention of the rival Fightin’ Byes... #DISRESPECK).
Understanding the task at hand
Babers isn’t one to back down from a challenging opponent, but is also very realistic about the difficult matchup with Clemson. His key quote:
"They're a great team, highly motivated in a tough environment, but give us a slingshot and a rock. That's all I ask is a slingshot and rock.”
In the same breath, he also advised “don’t bet the house on it, brother” with regard to the upset on Saturday. Again, that’s not a negative. Just a very realistic way of looking at the game, while still motivating your team. He still talked to the Orange about proving folks wrong again when prep started for this game.
Sending the seniors out with a bowl game
It’s been a wild ride for Syracuse’s seniors, with three coaches in a five-year stretch. Babers thinks it would be a cool way to send some of those players out, with an unexpected bowl game.
Depending on whether those seniors arrived in 2012 or 2013, it could also color their perception a bit. True seniors have largely witnessed a program decline up to now, and just two coaches. While redshirt seniors started on a high (two straight bowl wins), then dipped and are now here for the start of the upswing too. Syracuse doesn’t NEED this game to get to a bowl game, but it would certainly go a long way toward arriving at six wins given the difficulty of the last four.
Praise for Clemson
While this place is at least 85-percent “jokes and garbage” during Clemson week, it’s not without the obvious acknowledgment that the Tigers have a pretty great team on their hands. Babers may not engage in the same shade we do, but he’s happy to recognize the talent on the other sideline:
"It's hard to hide offensive linemen and defensive linemen. There's things we can do but they're extremely talented (in the trenches)"
Babers also brings his own rankings apart from the AP, Coaches Poll and College Football Playoff Rankings. He functions on the “future millionaires” poll:
Syracuse HC Dino Babers on Clemson: "There are a lot of guys that are going to be millionaires playing offensively and defensively 4 them."— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) October 31, 2016
He never says if that’s only accounting for guys that’ll make millions in the NFL, or if other career paths are possible. If the latter, I’d say Harvard and Stanford are getting a bunch of first-place votes.
As you know at this point, Cole Murphy’s struggled kicking the ball since week three, and it’s seemingly gotten worse each game. Babers knows this, but he’s not going to make a change there.
"Cole's our kicker. We'll stick with him until he gets it right."
On the season, the junior is just 8-for-15 on field goals, and 25-for-26 on extra points. There’s been a significant uptick in long field goal attempts for him, which doesn’t help. Just four of his attempts have been from under 40 yards (he’s 3-for-4 from that range).
Should Babers ever decide to make a change, that role would go to walk-on Alex Grossman or redshirt freshman punter Sterling Hofricther, who one could assume will eventually take on both roles when Murphy graduates anyway.