The Syracuse Orange football season has concluded with a disappointing 5-7 record. However, after SU won two of three to end the year, there’s some new light to apply to the jobs of Dino Babers’s assistants.
In his post-game comments following Saturday’s win over Wake Forest, Dino mentioned that more changes are coming (beyond just Brian Ward’s firing earlier this fall), so this greater conversation certainly has more merit now. We’ll talk potential replacements later in the week. But for now, here’s a look at the current staff and who’s most likely to stay/go.
Who’s definitely safe?
- Justin Lustig, special teams/outisde receivers
- Nick Monroe, safeties/nickelbacks
- Kim McCloud, cornerbacks
- Reno Ferri, tight ends/inside receivers
Nothing really changes here. Lustig’s the best assistant on staff, and Monroe’s the best recruiter. Monroe’s position group has some questions, but that’s potentially more due to scheme than a function of his specific role.
As previously discussed, McCloud’s been with Dino for a long time, and won’t be going anywhere — even if just assigned to a different position group depending on need. Ferri’s also staying by way of his DMV-area recruiting ties (though we’d certainly like to see a bit more from the inside receivers after this forgettable season there).
Who could be fine right now?
- Vinson Reynolds, defensive line
- Mike Lynch, offensive coordinator/running backs
Reynolds is one of the team’s only Midwest recruiters, and the line did get significantly better this year when McKinley Williams returned.
But Lynch is a much bigger question. On the one hand, he’s been on staff for some really good offenses at Syracuse, and something started improving in the final quarter of this season too. On the other, 2019’s lacked on the offensive end and in-game play-calling has been abysmal at times (and was for stretches last year too — since Sean Lewis has been gone). Efficiency’s also lacked for all four years now.
Think he sticks around next year for continuity’s sake, but he still may get demoted if hiring a bigger name OC is possible. The staff below him is still likely to be overhauled, as you’ll notice below.
Who may be leaving?
- Steve Stanard, interim defensive coordinator/linebackers
- Mike Cavanaugh, offensive line
- Kirk Martin, quarterbacks
The names here shouldn’t surprise. Stanard’s defense succeeded almost entirely due to turnovers these past three weeks. And while the team’s ability to generate them should be celebrated, they were largely shredded otherwise (perhaps most of Duke game aside). Also don’t think the linebackers developed much under Stanard, as evidenced by this year’s struggles.
There shouldn’t be any doubt that Cavanaugh departs. He wasn’t part of the original staff, has no major recruiting prowess and his line was terrible for three quarters of this season (and simply passable the last three games). Martin could leave of his own accord, taking a job closer to home in Texas now that he has QB coach experienced at the FBS level. Any new QB coach needs to be able to better develop the position, get involved in the passing game coordination and recruiting.
This group hasn’t shied away from staff critiques, so have at it in the comments. We’ll take a look at potential replacement hires later this week and early next.