Syracuse football head coach Dino Babers spoke to the media on Wednesday for the first ACC Football Media Teleconference of the season. He discussed a variety of topics varying from the new redshirt rule to new Southern Virginia head coach Edwin Mulitalo. Let’s break it down:
Dino loves this version of the Syracuse offensive line
Babers only had positive things to say about the front line for the Orange. SU returns six players with experience and brings in Texas A&M grad transfer tackle Koda Martin. With Martin, Cody Conway, Aaron Roberts (who missed all of last year), Sam Heckel, Evan Adams, and Airon Servais, Syracuse is well positioned up front.
“I think it’s the best O-line that we’ve had in the three years that I’ve been here,” Babers said. “We have depth. You put our first seven, eight guys out there, they look and play the way that you’re supposed to in the ACC.”
Devin C. Butler will be a key piece out wide
The battle for No. 1 receiver may be finally over. After losing Steve Ishmael and Ervin Philips to graduation, Syracuse desperately needs someone for Eric Dungey to sling passes to. Babers believes Butler will be a part of that solution.
“Devin is going to have an opportunity. Probably right now he is our bell cow at that position,” Babers said. “He has played the most games, has the most knowledge. A lot of the young guys are looking to him for leadership. I expect him not to be only a leader off the football field by on the football field by making a bunch of plays for us.”
It’s not that surprising that Butler has received Dino’s vote of confidence. Out of the returning wide receivers from last year, he had the most catches and yards (33 for 327) and is the only one to catch seven or more balls in one game. After losing over 2,000 receiving yards, hopefully Butler can help the Orange solve this issue.
Dino doesn’t know how much the new redshirt rule will affect
This offseason, the NCAA instituted a new rule about redshirts. A player is able to receive a redshirt while still appearing in up to four games. A somewhat controversial decision, Babers is not confident the rule will get as much use as some think.
“The interesting thing is everyone assumes just because everyone has four games to play, everybody is going to get in,” he said. “The score has to be where you can get into the game. So I don’t think that rule is going to affect as many people as they think it’s going to affect, but I think it can help some football teams like my football team when you have some depth issues.”
Hey, we think SU could find some use for it too!
Last year, Dungey missed the last three games of the season. Those three games, all blowout losses, took SU from 4-5 with a chance at reaching a bowl, to a disappointing 4-8. Yet, highly touted four-star freshman Tommy DeVito was given a redshirt instead of burning an entire year of eligibility on just three games.
So, with the current rule, the Orange could have played DeVito and seen how he performed in games rather than just practice against his own teammates. So, I understand Dino’s discontent towards the new ruling — at least in terms of how he might’ve been able to put it to good use in the past.