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Syracuse vs. Wake Forest: ‘A negative that was turned into a positive’

Dino Babers and Orange players provide perspective after the win, and a weird season.

NCAA Football: Wake Forest at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

When the senior class finally left the field after the Syracuse Orange defeated the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, they left with a sense of both accomplishment and what could have been. Pride for what they had done and for what they had instilled in the next generation of Syracuse football players, to continue on playing at the highest level.

Over the course of the year, folks like Kendall Coleman were the vocal and field leaders of the team. Coleman ended the season sixth in total tackles on the team (48), second in tackles for loss (10.5), and fourth in sacks (4). Being one of the outgoing seniors, he was candid about the game, noting that “this game is limited, we’re all working on borrowed time, so to go out there and get the win tonight, especially for us to win our last game wearing Orange, it means everything.“

The win was a high point of what had become a low lying season. It was capped off by Trill Williams stripping Kendall Hinton on what may have been Wake Forest’s winning drive in overtime. The play was memorable and will likely show up on some Sportscenter highlights. After the catch, with a good bit of free space, Hinton made toward the endzone and Williams pounced.

When it happened, Coleman recalled something from earlier in the season and that “[he] had walked up to him and spoke to him about making sure he was putting in the right work and doing the right things to take the next step forward in his development.” Williams responded to Kendall, “Don’t worry, we won’t let you go out the wrong way.” and Trill, true to his word, didn’t let them go out the wrong way.

After the game, the question of which direction the program is heading in was brought up numerous times. Succinctly, Coleman stated “I think they’re on the right path, we’ve got the right guys, tonight showed we have the right mentality, we just gotta keep putting the work in to get where we’re trying to go.” The seniors were in a position that they could impact not only what they did on the field, but help mold things in the program for the future.

Similarly, when asked, Coach Dino Babers stated “I think it’s a negative that we can turn into a positive,” and that “I think we can build upon the mistakes that we made this year, and hopefully that’s going to lead us to something better in the future. If not this year was a waste.”

It’s good the see that the view from inside the program is that progress is being made. However that works out will be to be seen, next season, but there’s still going to be the need to shake things up after what can only be taken as a failure in the record category.

Coach Babers mentioned that there would definitely be some shakeups coming from the coaching staff and that he’s going to take his time and do it right. “This is not something you do off the spur of the moment, you don’t want emotions to dictate your decisions, you gotta take all that stuff out of it. You have to evaluate the program and the players and everything from top to bottom.”

Who that means will see the door, is open for interpretation and I know the site has opined on this a few times, but we’re in for an offseason of questions surrounding the program and how Dino will right the ship in year five. Whatever the future holds for the program, it seems like the seniors were at least happy with their sendoff and salvaging a little bit of the lost season on the day.