We’ve been acquainted with Syracuse Orange football coach Dino Babers for a little over two years now. And if there’s one thing we know about him, it’s that he’s an entertaining and interesting person when talking about football.
ESPN knows it too, which is why they’ve had him on the Coaches Film Room for portions of the College Football Playoff these past two years. Last season, it was the National Championship. This time around, they brought Babers in for the both of the semifinal games.
Though he was the breakout star of last year’s event, this year’s (admittedly longer) show didn’t have the same opportunity for success. That was in no part due to Dino himself, however. It’s just that (also good) TCU coach Gary Patterson simply wouldn’t stop talking the entire time... until he left abruptly during the second half of the Alabama-Clemson game, that is.
Still, Babers managed to impress when he could. Some of the bigger takeaways:
Babers is anti-rugby style tackling
Patterson and Babers did get to talking about rugby-style tackling at one point, and whether it may or may not be the (safer) future of the sport. Though some schools (like Nebraska) have recently moved on from the idea, plenty more have seemingly embraced it. Dino isn’t on board, referring to it as “bologna and cheese.”
Do with this what you will.
Gary: "Here's the problem with too many snaps."— Nate Mink (@MinkNate) January 1, 2018
Dino: *raises eyebrows*
Dino’s obviously pro-tempo
Oklahoma uses plenty of tempo in recent years, as it’s transitioned to an offense more in touch with spread principles (to say the least). Obviously Syracuse does too, as evidenced by the Orange running more plays per game than any other program in the country.
You’ll notice above that Patterson seems to feel the opposite way, despite his team’s presence in the Big 12 and the fact that the Horned Frogs were in the top 30 in plays per game this year. Babers was certainly not entertaining that sort of talk, however. It’s also worth noting that OU’s strategy to pick up the pace may not have worked vs. UGA’s defense (which actually got better at stopping them later on).
No shade at Clemson
If it were me in that Coaches Film Room and I was the only team to beat Clemson this year before Alabama just did, I’d shoot my shot. But that’s one of the many reasons I’m not a football coach.
Babers opts for compliments instead. He discussed just how good the Tigers’ defense is -- “so good they make you made at your own guys” — and how much they were able to limit your opportunities downfield. Despite the 24-6 final score, that largely remained true after the ‘Bama loss, too. Turnovers helped create 14 of those points for the Tide.
Dino’s here for ref complaints
Like any coach, Babers has plenty of critiques for officials. On top of openly petitioning for pass interference calls, he did also remark to Patterson that they’d still get fined for criticizing the refs.
Dino’s not above lodging in-game or post-game complaints, and he had several on at least a few occasions in 2017. His calls dissipated over time during the film room episode, but he made it clear he’s not a fan of how games are called. One might remember Steve Ishmael’s struggles to get penalties called on defenders as a primary gripe.
Plenty more from Dino, but we’ll leave that to the comments. What did you enjoy most about his contributions on ESPNews?