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Firing Brian Ward wasn’t easy, and that’s why it’s important

Dino Babers addressed the media in his weekly presser for the first time since firing his defensive coordinator.

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

After a well-timed bye week, Dino Babers took to podium, and was immediately asked to address the elephant in the room: For the first time as a head coach, he had to fire a member of his staff mid-season. The Syracuse Orange removed now former defensive coordinator Brian Ward from the staff after losing to Boston College 58-27. “It’s not something I’m happy with, it’s not something I’m going to boast about, because it hurt me deeply,” Dino said.

“We’re trying to get at a change,” explained the ‘Cuse head coach. “I need to see something different. I just thought we weren’t moving in the direction we needed to be moving in, based off the last thing that I saw. But it wasn’t one thing. It was a lot of things, which I’m not going to get into, because unlike in other professions when something like this happens, it’s really extremely personal.”

Babers elaborated.

“You’re talking about someone who has been a part of our family for a very long time. You’re talking about his family, his daughters, his son, his wife has been part of our family for a very long time, and they’re still a part of this community. Even though something like that happened, and it’s unfortunate, I expect to see something different, knowing this change was very difficult.”

Now, Babers was clearly less than his normal, chipper self during this conversation, but that doesn’t mean the questions were put to bed from the assembled local media. When continually pressed about specific changes he was looking for, or specific changes that were not made, Dino got more direct.

“The biggest thing I want to see is different results on the football field like everyone else in the community,” said Babers. “It’s as simple as that. We want to see something different than what we’ve seen. The first time I got here, we talked about my vision, what I envisioned this place being... and I don’t see the vision.”

Overall, Dino put a pin in the issue, explaining that there’s a responsibility to the Syracuse administration, players, and coaches he carries to do all he can to win games on the football field.

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Other Notes:

  • As expected, Dino dropped a great “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, again,” when mentioning why something different was needed.
  • Dino re-iterated several times that he believes that the defense has good personnel, they just haven’t reached their full potential this year (there’s some potential proof to this in game results — just obviously not the majority of them).
  • In what I’m sure Clemson will take as #DISRESPEKT, even though Dino said explicitly, “No disrespect to any other coaches in the ACC,” Babers said that David Cutcliffe is always the smartest guy in the room. He said that Cutcliffe has “knowledge that just flows through him.” He’s impressed with how Duke has continually evolved on offense, incorporating elements of pro and college specific offenses.
  • Dino praised freshman offensive tackle Matthew Bergeron, impressed by how he’s improved game over game, and overall progression in-game situations.
  • Dino is pulling a Leroy Jethroe Gibbs and has “rules” his players know, but are mysterious to us on the outside. What’s that? It’s Kevin Wall’s music?!