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Dino Babers press conference: Offensive line improvement, Canadians, Boston College

Babers spoke with the media ahead of Saturday’s matchup with Boston College.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at North Carolina State Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a tough Syracuse Orange loss against Florida State, Dino Babers had no opening statement for his press conference ahead of Boston College, and went straight to questions. Here were some of the notable answers:

“I thought for the very first time we had series where it looked like we could actually move the football... I went back in there and checked and there were a lot more 1s than I thought there were after the game.”

This was perhaps the one silver lining from Saturday, albeit coming late in a game that had pretty much been decided already. The team racked up 192 net yards on the ground, which is more than double the totals from the Pitt and NC State games combined. The line, even after Ryan Alexander quit the team, managed to lock in and helped get Neal and Adams into the end zone late down in Tallahassee. Should be interested to see how the line fairs against Boston College, likely the only team the rest of the season that Syracuse will be favored to beat.

“(The Canadian players) have a little hockey mentality in them when you talk to them. The freshmen that come from Canada are normally two-language people, so they’re very intelligent... We love our brothers to the north and we’ll continue to recruit up there.”

Babers made this comment in response to a question on if he felt some of the older Canadian freshmen like Matthew Bergeron usually come in playing more physically, to which he said yes. It’s interesting to hear Babers talk about recruiting Canada, something the program has done more in recent years but he hasn’t talked about extensively in a public setting.

“Coach (Dick) Tomey, who was my head coach at the University of Hawaii, he had a line that I at first didn’t understand and as I got older it began to stick with me. The line was ‘try less harder’. They want to win so bad that they jump, they make a mistake. They’ve done it right a bunch of times in practice and we have confidence that they’ll do it right in the game. Then, they just blank.”

This has rung true for many things with Syracuse this year. The one where it has particularly been clear is on the penalty front, as the Orange have been slapped with the third-most penalties of any team in the nation. Then, of course, there’s the offensive line that’s been weak all year and a secondary that has struggled the last couple weeks. Having clean technique and doing jobs properly is one important thing to hammer out in practice, but it’s meaningless if it can’t be executed on game day.

“(Stacking 8 guys in the box to stop AJ Dillon) is not that simple because guys get to block people. You can cover every gap and now you have seven guys that get to block the people in that gap. That’s the whole battle... you have to embrace that part of it.”

Similar to how Cam Akers proved to be a thorn in Syracuse’s side last weekend, AJ Dillon is very capable of being that guy and more for Boston College. He just broke BC’s all-time rushing record in less than three years and has tied the rushing TD record. The man is also averaging more than five yards per carry in 2019, so if SU has the same run defense that it did last week, it might not be a pretty afternoon in the Dome.