Syracuse Orange football coach Dino Babers spoke to the media during Wednesday’s ACC Coaches Teleconference. He spoke plenty about last week’s loss to the LSU Tigers, but more importantly, previewed SU’s ACC opener against the NC State Wolfpack.
Dungey and Franklin are the two leaders
Perhaps this is obvious, but Eric Dungey and Zaire Franklin are the loudest voices in the locker room. When things turn for the worst, underclassmen on the offense/defense look towards the quarterback and linebacker for answers. They have consistently displayed that they are willing to put their body on the line for the sake of the team, a true credit to their toughness.
“We have two heartbeats,” Babers said. “You've got Zaire Franklin on defense, and you've got Eric Dungey on offense, and those guys play very passionately, sometimes too passionately... There's no doubt that those two individuals want to win in the worst way, and they're fantastic competitors.”
It is fairly evident what the two bring to the team. Whether it shows up in the box score or not, Dungey and Franklin are irreplaceable players for the Orange. They are also catalysts: when they are performing at their best, so does the team. Entering ACC play, these two need to play at their highest potential for Syracuse to have a chance against any opponent.
High praise for Bradley Chubb
The N.C. State defensive lineman has garnered national attention this season with 3.5 sacks and 21 tackles through the first four games. Last week, in a win against Florida State, he dominated the Seminole offensive line and dropped James Blackman, Florida State freshman quarterback, twice.
When first asked about how to block Chubb, Babers responded with a frank “IDK.” He then expanded:
“We were playing [Arden] Key last week...who's supposed to be the fourth or fifth pick in the draft,” Babers said. “I'm looking at [Bradley] Chubb on film, and I think he's better. The guy is flying all over the field. He's stout. He's ripping the ball out 10, 12 yards down the field, making plays on backs. He's very active, I'm not sure we've seen better so far.”
After not an awful performance last week against LSU, the offensive line may have to be even better this week to keep Dungey on his feet.
Sterling Hofrichter is essential to the team’s success
Hofrichter’s outstanding performance against LSU has not been covered enough. His five punts inside the twenty (including a punt inside the five that set up a safety) consistently forced the Tigers to start in awful field position.
“That hidden yardage was one of the key parts of the game that kept us in the game,” Babers said. “I keep telling all the young ladies around campus, you'd better grab him because he's going to working on Sundays. The guy is an outstanding student, he is a fine representative of this football team on and off the field, and he goes about his business in a very serious, serious manner, and... he's an NFL punter.”
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For the Orange to have success going forward, they will need Hofrichter to continue the type of performance he showed on Saturday. It helps the defense get off the field and allows Dungey and the offense to score more points.
Babers also quoted Allen Iverson’s infamous “practice” press conference to cap off what was an entirely entertaining session with the Orange head coach.