When previewing the Syracuse Orange offensive line last week, we'd guessed that the heralded class of 2015 players were at a bit of an impasse. While each one of them -- Cody Conway, Evan Adams, Colin Byrne, Sam Clausman and AJ Deurig -- is a promising young player at their respective spots, we weren't sure if their bigger, heavier frames were what Dino Babers had in mind for this offense.
Ends up that was spot-on based on what he told media today following this morning's practice session. As he told Syracuse.com:
"This summer is going to be very, very important in how we train them. The offensive line has to lose some weight. Some guys have to gain some strength, and those are the things that are going to give us a chance."
"I just think we have some offensive linemen that are too big and need to lose some weight. And we have other guys that need to gain weight."
Babers didn't really need to single anyone out to know that some of that was directed at the aforementioned class of 2015 contributors -- several of whom could be in line to start this fall -- along with the many other linemen hanging at or above 300 pounds. The new Syracuse coach hasn't been one to mince words since arriving on campus back in December, and he's spelled out a clear vision for what he wants this Orange offense to be. He wants it to be based on speed and proper conditioning. He understands that will take some time, however.
"The main reason we moved spring ball up is so we could get our techniques, our fundamentals, our plays offensively and defensively ingrained in their head at tempo, so they can go back in the summer, slow everything down and then fine-tune the techniques and fundamentals that give us a chance to win come two-a-days and in the fall."
We'll see how realistic it is for these players on the heavier side of things (let's assume all of the guys 300 pounds and above) to slim down a bit between now and July. Diet and conditioning play a huge part, but Babers seems most concerned about whether they're up for the tempo. If they can be effective at his tempo, it's unlikely he's really all that concerned with the exact weight of each player. That said, you can see the measurements on the incoming 2016 linemen (all 275 and under), and see where Babers is inevitably leaning toward -- either now or down the road.
As we've repeatedly said, this is going to be a very interesting stretch between now and the opener vs. Colgate, as the culture, roster and depth chart continue to shake out in the image of the new regime.