After a great piece from Matt Fortuna last week around Syracuse Orange football at ACC media days, the publication came back with another over the weekend in its ongoing “state of the program” series. This time, the focus from Bruce Feldman was on how Dino Babers has rebuilt Syracuse’s entire football culture from scratch, and what that’s meant to the players and the fans around the program.
Along with some quotes from Babers — including the breakthrough he may have seen coming in year three — there was also plenty from Orange senior defensive end Kendall Coleman, who describes the stat of affairs when he first arrived on campus and how that’s changed since. Appropriately, he frames it poetically below.
“I came into a culture where guys weren’t completely focused all the time. Now, it’s everything that you do, you think, how will this affect the team, how does this help or hurt me moving forward? It’s the attention to detail he’s demanded. It’s making sure that every toe is behind the line when we start a run. This staff doesn’t pull any punches. If you’re even slightly wrong, you’re 100 percent wrong, and they let you know. It’s a little tough at first. It’s a beautiful thing now. Everybody gets rained on sometime, but when the rain stops, that’s when the rainbow comes.”
This seems like a stark contrast from “player’s coach” Scott Shafer and his staff, and yet... all of these players love Dino and his staff AND they’re winning. There’s no perfect solution for the type of coaching staff that works, and that changes from year to year based on the players on campus. Still, the anecdote from Coleman at least tells us that the previous staff’s mentality didn’t necessarily breed a focused team.
Worth a read for sure below, along with the rest of your Syracuse links:
“He really grew in his leadership role,” Babers says. “It is hard. Tommy’s always been a fantastic leader but when Eric Dungey’s on your team, everybody knows who’s got the biggest shadow. Now that Eric’s gone, I think he’s done a fantastic job of trying to fill that void.”
Camden Hay said that he liked Syracuse University, and that the lacrosse team offered what amounted to half of a scholarship to join the Orange. Albany’s offer was similar — “really good for lacrosse” he said — plus there were the family ties among the Great Danes. “I didn’t think I’d fit in with the team (at Syracuse),” Hay said. “They bring in a lot of kids, they recruit a lot of kids.
Ahead of the 2019 campaign, Babers sat down with The David Glenn Show at ACC Kickoff to discuss, breaking through as a program, his offseason movie list, the randomness and weirdness of football, Game of Thrones and much, much more.
The better question is: Is there anybody else worth discussing in this conference? The answer to the latter is, of course there are other programs with interesting storylines. But the problem for the league – and it is a big problem – is no other program is worth mentioning when the discussion widens to the College Football Playoffs, or teams approaching the top 10 in the country.
Cisco makes Jim Thorpe Award watch list (Cuse.com)
Syracuse sophomore safety Andre Cisco has been named to the preseason watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame announced on Monday, July 22. The award is presented annually to the best defensive back in college football. Monday’s watch list nod is Cisco’s second in the past week.
Clemson picked to win ACC, but not by everyone (The State)