clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

ACC coaches teleconference: Dino Babers talks Eric Dungey, Tyrone Perkins

Savor the Dino quotes with just a few weeks left.

Syracuse v Wake Forest Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images

Last Saturday’s win over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons may have not been the most exciting, as the Syracuse Orange didn’t throw for a score all game long. But it sure was an important W nonetheless.

For the first time in the Dino Baber’s era, Syracuse won a game in November. That’s mainly due to that it’s only the fourth game that senior quarterback Eric Dungey has ever started in November, but it’s still a landmark occasion. Now ranked No. 13 in the Coaches, AP and College Football Playoff polls, Syracuse (7-2, 4-2 ACC) is on pace for a special season. Here’s what Babers had to say this week:

Friday night will be an emotional one

When Syracuse plays against Louisville on Friday night, it will be the last time that Dungey and seniors walk out onto the Carrier Dome turf. While it’s already been announced that they’ll take one last lap around the Dome after the conclusion of the game, the whole night should be touching for any Syracuse football fan.

“I really do hope the fans understand how emotional this game is,” Babers said. “When you’re a senior, if you’ve ever been a senior, you’re playing your last game at your home site, you’ve bled for the team, if you’re a really good football player, you’ve probably broken some bones or torn a ligament for that team. It’s just one of those things that you’re going to always remember. If they can put that in their hearts and minds, just come out to say good-bye to this senior class, that really put us back on the right road, given us an opportunity to change this program.”

These seniors were recruited by Scott Shafer, saw his ugly dismissal, and then had a new coach in only their second year in college. The fact that they stayed is enough, but almost everyone bought into Baber’s system. They picked up the pace of the offense and completely changed their mindset from the previous administration. They, along with Babers, are one of the largest reasons that this program is now ranked in the top 15. That, alone, deserves respect and applause.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Wake Forest Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Babers will miss Dungey

It really hasn’t settled in yet that this is the last time Dungey will sling a pass in the Dome for fans to watch. He’s been the starting quarterback for the last four years, save with a few absences and Terrel Hunt’s start in game one of 2015 before an injury gave way to what would be the Dungey era. He’s since gone on to define the first three (of hopefully many) years of the Babers era. It makes sense why this Friday night will be so emotional for both the coach and his quarterback.

“First of all, one of the reasons I came to Syracuse was Eric Dungey,” Babers said. “When you have a lot of job offers, if you’re an offensive guy, you’re always going to look to see if they have a returning quarterback. There was a lot of things we could have done or I could have done. One thing that really intrigued me was watching Eric as a freshman, seeing the things he was doing, wanting to have an opportunity to coach him. Doesn’t mean it was going to turn out right, didn’t mean everything was going to go okay. Thank goodness it did. He’s having the type of senior year we can all be proud of.”

Dungey’s freshman season was a start but you knew he was only getting started and potentially held back by the system. Still, Baber’s sentiment is understandable. From the first time he stepped foot in Central New York, he displayed a confidence and a fearlessness that not all quarterbacks have, even if it sidelines him at times (though with luck, never again at SU). It’s unsurprising why that was attractive to Babers then and remains so now.

NCAA Football: ACC Media Days Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrone Perkins is still in the hospital

One of the only negatives from last Saturday’s win over Wake Forest was senior Tryone Perkins’ leg injury. Early in the first quarter, he was covering a punt return when his left leg hyper extended. His injury was so severe that his entire body needed to be stabilized as he was lifted onto the transport cart. Perkins spent the night in a Winston-Salem hospital and did not travel back with the team. Babers updated the media on his status.

“I think all those guys have a chance. Tyrone is still in North Carolina,” Babers said. “Let me say this. I got a picture from Tyrone yesterday with Dave Clawson visiting him in the hospital. I just want to say publicly that I really do appreciate Dave doing that. That was something that was very gracious on his end. All of us know how important our time is as a head coach, especially to our own programs. For him to go out and visit one of my guys in the local hospital is something I’ll never forget, something that I’ll always appreciate.”

Clawson went above and beyond with that gesture. Props to him because he had no need to make time in his busy schedule to visit another team’s player. You may recall former FSU coach Jimbo Fisher did something similar when Syracuse’s Julian Whigham was injured down in Tallahassee (and that was also a great gesture then, too).

Babers had no updates about the specifics of his injury but it can be assumed it is career ending for the senior.