Of course you saw Syracuse Orange football coach Dino Babers speak earlier, but he actually took the podium at ACC Football Kickoff (media days) after SU players Tommy DeVito and Kendall Coleman.
We just wrote about Dino first because of SEO and quotability — the Wal-Mart thing alone was pretty great — but there were quality moments from both DeVito and Coleman as well (as you’ll see below).
DeVito was up first. And if you didn’t already know, he’s Italian.
“... We’re Italian, so we’re all about trust. When we had a conversation with Coach Babers and the rest of the coaching staff, we had a lot of trust and belief with them. My gut told me to go with it, I went with it. That’s why I’m with Syracuse.”
He started that quote mentioning the offense as a big selling point (something that’s been the case since shortly after he committed). It hasn’t been as simple of a sell since then, but part of that may be because of how entrenched DeVito appears.
Also, as an Italian myself, we are very much about trust, and respect. Though admittedly, feel like a lot of cultures are, no? If he justifies most things with “being Italian,” he’s the exact amount of New Jersey you assumed he was.
We also like to think of you as a pocket passer, Tommy.
“I like to think of myself as a pocket passer. At the same time when the time comes, if I need to run, I will. That is not my first thought.”
... So that’s a relief to hear.
He’s also been working on his comedy routine.
“In the off-season, I’ve been practicing my tan (laughter). Just kidding. A lot of timing with the receivers. I’ve been trying to put on a lot of weight, trying to be able make sure I can take these hits in the weight room.”
That might sound similar to what we heard about a previous Syracuse quarterback with almost comically-large muscles by the end of his career. Let’s hope DeVito doesn’t need to absorb the same number of hits that his predecessor did, however.
Describing Kendall Coleman:
“Serious. Kendall is a very serious dude. He means business. He’s a great guy off the field, on the field. He laughs a lot. But you could tell when he gets those sacks, he has a serious look on his face. He means business, I couldn’t respect him any more.”
Then Kendall describes how serious Tommy is (not as much!), because this is an awful line of questioning.
“Yeah, Tommy is not quite as serious as I am at times. He’s a quality guy, great person to be around, really influential, really knows how to take control of the room, captivate the audience he has at hand.”
You probably noticed this comment too in the Babers piece. Which freshman do we think is spending the MOST time in trash cans?
“Lots of freshmen spending time in the trash cans right now. Other than that, everybody is getting where they need to go, making their times.”
“This defense has come a long way. Defense starts with mentality. I think we finally got the right mentality and plays to go out there, attack other teams, do what we need to do to make sure overall our team is successful.”
Even since the start of last year, can attest that this defense has, indeed, come a long way.
“A big part of our defense that people have talked about to this point has been our D-line. Although we’ve been really successful, I’d be wrong if I didn’t suggest that there’s a lot of competition between the best position group on defense between the DBs and the D-line.”
Considering how high everyone is on the D-line this year, that’s impressive (and a very good sign).
“So putting hands in quarterbacks’ faces. Not every play has to result in a sack in order to be effective. Getting a hand in the quarterback’s face or putting his O-linemen in his face, running back, that creates a skewed perspective for him to be able to pass, puts our DBs and our safeties in great positions to go up and make plays on the ball.”
This really separates a good line from a great line; the understanding to disrupt plays in various forms. This group seems to get that a bit more than the late Shafer teams did (and every bit as much, if not more, than the Shafer-as-DC teams did).