Dino Babers is still new here so we’ll cut him some slack.
We know, Orange Is The New Fast and all, but for us Syracuse Orange fans, we know that there was a time, hell, most of the time, when the punter’s success was just about the only thing we had to look forward to.
Rob Long set the table for The Golden Era of Syracuse Punters, booming kicks for multiple seasons before a brain tumor sidelined him and he became a whole new kind of inspiration. Rob set so many punting records at SU it was hard to believe anyone would break them for a long time to come.
And then some snot-nosed kid from CBA named Riley Dixon showed up and took things to a whole other level. There was a time when Riley wasn’t just the best punter on the team but also the best running back and quarterback. He left behind more highlights than most guys who played WR for Syracuse in the last 20 years. That a local walk-on ended up becoming The Orange People’s Champion and getting drafted into the NFL is still something that defies comprehension. The #DixonForHeisman campaign might have started as a laugh, but we were kinda-sorta serious by the end of it.
That brings us to 2016 and Sterling Hofrichter. The heir apparent. Such lofty heights hang above his 5-foot-9 frame. While the spotlight might not be on Hofrichter like it was for Long or Dixon, that doesn’t mean Syracuse fans don’t expect greatness from the one position guaranteed to provide it for the better part of the last decade.
Of course, for a new guy like Dino Babers, focused on his high-powered offense and fourth-down conversions, that might be a little hard to understand.
“You’re talking about my punter?” Dino Babers said with a laugh when asked about Hofrichter on Wednesday’s Atlantic Coast Conference coaches teleconference.
“I think he’s a really good punter,” Babers said. “I hope not to use him too much, but I think he has the ability to be an excellent punter for us.”
Is it the end of an era? Are we really looking to a time when SU’s punter isn’t the best player on the field? Do we really want that?
(Yes. Yes we do. More than anything, please god...)
That doesn’t mean Sterling is off the hook. It simply means the focus has moved elsewhere. But we still expect greatness from him. He’s a God Damn Syracuse University Punter. He kicks greatness in the ass simply by association.
Punter Sterling Hofrichter said tonight it's up to the fans to start another Syracuse punter Heisman campaign. CC: @NunesMagician— Matt Schneidman (@matt_schneidman) September 7, 2016
We got you, Sterlz.