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Some ideas on potential hires for Dino Babers’s Syracuse football staff this offseason

Some of these are more informed guesses than others.

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

The Syracuse Orange football team will be hiring at least one new coach this offseason following the dismissal of defensive coordinator Brian Ward in November. And if you believe what Dino Babers said on Saturday, there are at least a couple more moves in the works as well.

We’ve made our final evaluations on the current Orange coaches, and who may or may not be retained this offseason. Now we take a look at who could be added — and maybe where. This isn’t based on inside information, as much as potential Babers connections and likelihood of being able to hire them.

NCAA Football: Duke at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Defensive coordinator

Brian Norwood - co-defensive coordinator/CB coach, Navy

Norwood’s defense at Navy has been a big part of the Midshipmen’s resurgence this season, and the Virginia native could help further bolster the Orange’s presence in the DMV area from a recruiting perspective. Norwood’s likelihood seems to be on the higher end too, because of his ties to Dino Babers: Both played at Hawaii and Babers was a grad assistant while Norwood played there. Plus the two worked together on the Baylor staff under Art Briles. As long as the money’s there, Norwood should be the add.

Charlie Partridge - assistant head coach/defensive line, Pittsburgh

Since he’s not a sitting P5 defensive coordinator, Partridge could potentially be on the list for the job. Along with head coaching experience — was previously at Florida Atlantic — he’s spent a lot of time at Pitt, exposing him to a lot of the recruiting area SU will be looking at. He’s also been a DC at Wisconsin, so there’s experience running that side of the ball, too.

Dave Huxtable - defensive coordinator, NC State (fired)

This past year’s results may not have wowed (NC State was 74th in yards allowed per game), but Huxtable’s been part of a pretty solid defensive staff in recent years. And now that’s he’s off the NC State staff, he could be available to jump in — while also fixing linebacker play (something he’s specialized in as an assistant). He has extensive experience in the DC role too, having served there at NC State, UNC, Pitt, Georgia Tech, UCF and and Western Kentucky (before the Hilltoppers were FBS).

Marcus Freeman - defensive coordinator/linebackers, Cincinnati

Syracuse doesn’t necessarily need more Ohio/Midwest ties, but Freeman’s defenses have performed pretty well at Cincinnati and he’s an up-and-coming coach who could provide a quick boost to SU’s own defense. As mentioned on others, linebacker focus is crucial here, since it looks to be the weakest spot in the defense as things currently stand.

Clayton White - defensive coordinator, Western Kentucky

White’s led a strong defensive group this year for WKU, and has been in the role since 2017 — but before that he spent time at NC State and UConn, among others (including Stanford). He played at NC State, and also has NFL experience as a player. All of that should be beneficial on the recruiting trail, especially as Syracuse seems to be getting more talent from the Carolinas.


The rest of these names could slot into various roles on the staff, on either side of the ball. Haven’t included as much information, in the interest of space and time. But all are possibilities for various reasons (in my book, anyway).

Boston College v Syracuse Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Offensive coaches

Jeff Lebby - offensive coordinator/QB coach, UCF

Lebby’s been a key part of a strong UCF offensive group, and has some Baylor ties. Probably wants to stay an OC, but we don’t really know what we’re hiring for on the offensive side just yet with Mike Lynch’s future in potential question.

Brennan Marion - offensive coordinator/QB coach, William & Mary

Marion’s a potential position coach, and has led some impressive offenses at Howard — even if this past season at William & Mary wasn’t as great. DMV ties are a plus.

Macky MacPherson - running backs coach, Kent State

You already know Macky, and Sean Lewis did too, whch is why the former Orange center’s at Kent State right now. This offensive line could use a refresh, so why not bring in someone who was part of quality units there for Syracuse?

Andrew Sowder - offensive coordinator, Kent State

Sowder was originally one of the names we thought would be coming along when Babers first arrived, but didn’t make the cut. Since then, he’s gradually gotten more experience and his OC abilities were a big part of the impressive bounceback for Kent State. If we want the Orange offense to look like it used to, Sowder’s someone that could help that along.

Jabbar Juluke - assistant head coach/RB coach, UL-Lafayette

If Kirk Martin isn’t retained and we still want some ties in the Texas/Louisiana area, Juluke is a potential position coach add who helps lift up the run game (UL-Lafayette was sixth in rushing yards per game this year).

Bobby Wilder - head coach, Old Dominion (resigned)

We’d talked about Wilder as a potential OC add back when Dino started, and since then he’s led ODU to uneven returns. At their height, the Monarchs were a 10-win team, but they’ve dipped since. Still, his offensive pedigree (and northeast ties) could be worth plugging in, since he appears over the head coach life for now.

Steve Addazio - head coach, Boston College (fired)

Daz is very familiar to Syracuse fans, and we’d only bring in this “dude” as an O-line coach (also provided some BC offensive line recruits join him, perhaps?). Don’t think he’ll be a hot commodity this offseason, so worth a call.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 07 ULM at Florida State Photo by Logan Stanford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Defensive coaches

Vernon Hargreaves - LB coach, Missouri

More linebacker focus, as you’ll also notice below. Hargreaves was part of a strong Tigers defensive staff this year and is potentially looking for a new landing spot with Barry Odom out the door. He has northeast ties (UConn) and a lot of experience in Florida.

Raymond Woodie - ILB coach, Florida State

Could very well just follow Willie Taggart back to USF (he’s been worth Taggart at numerous stops), but perhaps we have a better paying gig for him.

Antoine Smith - DT coach, Boston College

Syracuse native Antoine Smith has been at BC since 2017, and brings Northeast experience with him along with time exposed to the capable defenses the Eagles have fielded until this past season. He’s worth contacting to see if he wants to move closer to “home” so to speak.

Jeff Koonz - ILB coach, Ole Miss

If we’re hiring Jeff Koonz, it’s largely due to the recruiting ties to the Texas area and Ohio, plus his experience coaching linebackers. He’s potentially a rising name who we may need to replace soon, but if he gets the job done, that’s a positive.

Brady Hoke - DL coach, San Diego State

The former head coach at Ball State, SDSU and Michigan has been part of quality defenses with the Aztecs over the years, and I think we can pay more to coach the D-line or another position group. Having another guy on staff with head coaching experience could be very helpful too.

Chip Vaughn - secondary coach, Air Force

One way to improve the secondary: hire a guy like Vaughn who has DMV area ties, an NFL and ACC (Wake Forest) pedigree and experience on a quality defensive staff, as is the case for him at Air Force right now.

Jerrick Hall - NG/DT coach, Navy

Hall jumps all the way to the top of the potential position coach hires list if Norwood gets the DC gig. He’s an NC State grad with northeast ties (New Haven, Fordham) and a good deal of experience in both the Carolinas and DMV area.


Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive. But anyone stand out as someone you wouldn’t add? Anyone notably absent that you would? Weigh in below.