The Syracuse Orange were widely expected to make changes after a disappointing 5-7 season. Dino Babers had already made one major move, firing longtime defensive coordinator Brian Ward after a 58-27 defeat vs. Boston College. While Steve Stanard’s takeover of the defense seemed to energize the unit briefly, it’s expected there will be a new full time DC brought into the fold.
There’s been wide speculation that current Navy Co-Defensive Coordinator Brian Norwood would be brought in. Norwood has a history with Babers (they overlapped at Baylor) and has shown he can get results from less than elite talent. After a strong defensive outing in the Liberty Bowl, he’s a name to watch.
However, Norwood is not the only name on the Orange radar. John put together a great list of potential candidates, and it’s likely that one of these names is the next DC at Syracuse — and maybe one or two of the assistants get hired as well.
There will be more staff departures along with Brian Ward from the initial 2019 staff. Director of Player Personnel Landen Salem will be departing to join Ryan Silverfield’s staff at Memphis, according to Bruce Feldman. Silverfield is attempting to continue the momentum left by now current Florida State Head Coach Mike Norvell who led Memphis to an AAC Championship and Cotton Bowl appearance this past season.
However, the biggest surprise comes in FootballScoop’s report that Kim McCloud will not return to Syracuse. McCloud has been with Dino Babers since 2012, coaching on both sides of the ball. This past season, he coached corners for the Orange.
As of now, that leaves at least three spots on the coaching staff or larger support staff to be filled. The good news for the Orange is that over the next few weeks, the College Football Playoff Championship and the American Football Coaches Association Annual Convention takes place, the two big coaching networking events that lead to filled vacancies.
This is probably why SU has been a bit slow on announcing any changes. Syracuse settled most of the 2020 recruiting class on Early Signing Day and have minimal room to work with left before National Signing Day, with all priority targets being recruited by staff members who are expected to return for next season. Dino Babers understands how crucial this next season will be for the program, and more than likely would like to perform his due diligence before bringing in key members to his team.
Regardless of how this shakes out, we can be sure that there 2020 Syracuse coaching staff will look different than this past year’s, and that’s something most fans wanted.