If Syracuse Orange football coach Dino Babers was nervous about any possible rule violations his team could face due to the speed of his offense, he sure didn’t show it while appearing on the ACC Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday.
Babers said he was unconcerned with the legality of his offense – which Louisville football coach Bobby Petrino heavily questioned on Tuesday, saying the Orange were snapping the ball before the down markers were moved in their win over Colgate last week.
“Well, I always was under the impression that the (down) box was the most important thing,” Babers said. “If the box was set, then the chains could come later. But I’m sure the officials will straighten it out and tell us how they do it.”
Babers even laughed when asked if an official or an opposing coach had ever questioned him about his offense playing too fast that it was “breaking the rules” prior to Petrino’s claims this week.
“(Laughs) No, I haven’t,” Babers said. “And I’m not concerned with the chains being set. I’m concerned with all the defensive speed they have, and offensive speed they have and really good coaching and physical players.
“I don’t think the game is going to be decided about the one or two seconds of the chains being set or not. I’m more concerned about that top-20 ranked football team he’s bringing up in here than whether the chains are set or not.”
While Babers said he remains focused on the game at hand and won’t concern himself with any #Chainghazi talk, Petrino said he took his cause all the way to the ACC office, speaking with officials and representatives from the ACC about the issue.
“The chains have to be set. You’ve got to let the chains get down and be set before they can snap the ball again, and there were a couple times in that game where they didn’t get set,” Petrino said. “And we have talked to the conference office and that’s part of the officials’ responsibility to make sure the chains are set before they let the ball be snapped.”
Dennis Hennigan, the ACC’s Coordinator of Football Officiating, reportedly disagrees with Petrino’s claim, telling Syracuse.com Wednesday afternoon the chains do not have to be set for the ball to be snapped.
ACC coordinator of football officiating Dennis Hennigan: The chain crew does NOT have to be set for the ball to be snapped. Story coming.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) September 7, 2016
Even if Syracuse is forced to potentially slow down (a tad) to let the officials make sure the down markers and chains are set, Petrino said he knows the Orange will still be playing at a much quicker pace than his team is accustomed to.
In an effort to combat Syracuse’s fast-paced offense, Petrino said he created a fast and high-intensity atmosphere at practice to prepare his team for Friday night. The Louisville head coach said he has been rotating two offensive teams at his starting defense, and making sure the offense snaps the ball in under 16 seconds every time while keeping their composure with simulated noise in the background.
“It’s hectic when you’re at practice like that,” Petrino said. “But it really pays off game time.”