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Syracuse football coaching staff stock watch: Bye week edition

The end of this season should dictate a lot of fates on Dino’s staff.

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

After Dino Babers fired defensive coordinator Brian Ward, it seemingly put the rest of the Syracuse Orange football staff on notice. Though Babers has been with most of his staff for a long time, Ward’s departure could be a sign of more changes to come without improvements over the final three games of the season.

There’s no game this weekend, thankfully. But when the Orange take the field against Duke on November 16, we’ll start seeing the 2020 football staff take shape.

We’ll be posting the follow rundown of the existing staff after each game going forward, evaluating who’s trending up, down or keeping themselves in place.

Who’s definitely safe?

  • Justin Lustig, special teams/outisde receivers
  • Reno Ferri, tight ends/inside receivers

Justig’s special teams unit may have taken a little step back this year, but it’s still the strongest unit on this team — ranked among the top 25 special teams groups in the country according to SP+. He’ll probably be in demand again, after reportedly turning down offers this past offseason.

Ferri is Syracuse inroad to the DMV area, and has done a great job bringing along Aaron Hackett at tight end. Inside receivers may leave something to be desired this year, but that could also have as much to do with the O-line and play-calling.

NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Who could be fine right now?

  • Kim McCloud, cornerbacks
  • Nick Monroe, safeties/nickelbacks
  • Steve Stanard, interim defensive coordinator/defensive ends
  • Vinson Reynolds, defensive tackles

Honestly, the corners have looked poor this year, with some major regression year-over-year for a group that brought back a lot of experience. But McCloud’s worked with Babers for a very long time, and it’s hard to see him leaving. Though he could be reassigned elsewhere on the staff. While we’re talking about the secondary, there are potential questions for Nick Monroe too, though SU’s ace Florida recruiter would be tough to replace on the trail.

Stanard’s status is still TBD, because he’s taking on a tough task as interim DC and the defensive ends have underperformed this year. If the defense improves over the last three games, he certainly improves his status. Reynolds has been handcuffed by McKinley William’s absence. It’s tough to evaluate the job there at this time.

Who has some work to do?

  • Mike Lynch, offensive coordinator/running backs
  • Mike Cavanaugh, offensive line
  • Kirk Martin, quarterbacks

While Ward’s dismissal was necessary after the Boston College game, the offense’s struggles have been a fixture for Syracuse in ACC play. Lynch’s play-calling this year (and potentially last) has been uninspired and frustrating to witness, and he’s lacked an ability to adjust when gameplans don’t go as planned.

You already know what’s gone wrong with Cavanaugh’s offensive line, and I’d be shocked to see him resuscitate that group before the end of the year (which means it’s unlikely he’s back). As for Martin, there’s the complicating matter of him being Dino’s daughter’s father-in-law. That said, the Texas native hasn’t necessarily brought Tommy DeVito along enough, and should he depart, he’ll likely land a similar gig with a program in the Lone Star State.


Thoughts? Concerns? Would you change up any of these classifications above?