Syracuse Orange Coach Dino Babers is always measured with the media. That doesn’t mean he’s hiding anything. But he’ll typically share enough to help them (us) do their job, while not giving away so much detail that you can hold him to it later. The approach speaks to his savvy, and it was missed for much of the offseason.
Babers was back in front of the microphone after Tuesday’s spring football practice (the fourth so far), and he had some thoughts to share around how things are going so far.
Two of the major highlights: Thoughts on the wide receiver position this year, and the addition of Justin Lustig to the staff.
On whether there’s someone on the 2017 roster who can pull double coverage this year like the record-setting Amba Etta-Tawo did last year:
“With the guys coming here in the fall, plus the guys who are here already, I think we’re gonna have a really nice crew. We may not have one guy who’s as dynamic as Amba, but we’re going to be a better receiving group from top to bottom.
As long as entire group is really good, you can operate without (a player who can pull double coverage). But it’s really good to have one.”
Replacing Etta-Tawo’s production was a focus of our spring wide receivers preview, but it’s worth repeating now that it’ll be no small feat. Babers is rarely one to name names in interviews, but that deep group from top to bottom will rely on strong efforts from everyone -- not just the standouts like Steve Ishmael, Ervin Philips and Moe Neal. This receiving corps. will need guys like Jamal Custis, Adly Enoicy, Devin Butler, Sean Riley and more.
With the news that Justin Lustig is officially on board now as special teams/running backs coach, it also gave Babers an opportunity to discuss the addition. He shared a little on the motivation behind his hire:
“Any time you can add a head coach to your staff, with the energy (Lustig) has and the specialty he has in special teams, I think it’s really hard to pass up an individual like that.
He does a lot of things that are unique and different to special teams...”
We talked about how critical Lustig’s special teams experience will be for the team this year, and it’s great to hear Babers echo that sentiment. It would still be great to have a coach a little more dedicated to fix the run game as well, but that role can be handled by Lustig and a combination of other coaches on the staff too.
You can watch the full video above for everything Babers chatted about after practice. Additionally, check out his very candid, entertaining interview with SB Nation’s Richard Johnson from yesterday as well. Dino talks musicals, where he got his name from, terrifying defenses and even a little on Baylor (more than he’s ever shared before, anyway) there.