The defensive coordinator position for the Syracuse Orange football team seems to have been filled by (now former) Arizona State defensive coordinator Tony White. White joins Dino Babers’ staff after being promoted to defensive coordinator by Herm Edwards at Arizona State, following the 2019 season.
After the on-again-off-again relationship with defensive coordinators that the Orange have had over the past month, it seems that Syracuse have landed their new hire just in time for National Signing Day on February 5. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel was first to report the news:
Sources: Syracuse is hiring ASU DC Tony White as the defensive coordinator. He brings Syracuse the unique 3-3-5 defense from his time at San Diego State, which Dino Babers has targeted for his program.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) February 5, 2020
Prior to being elevated to the coordinator position, White was the defensive backs coach with the Sun Devils for the prior two seasons. Before that, he was a member of Rocky Long’s staffs at San Diego State and New Mexico, where he became a disciple of the 3-3-5 defense, which it seems that Coach Babers has tagged as what he is looking to run for the foreseeable future.
Though Arizona State was just outside the top half of the country in total defense last year (67th in yards allowed per game), they were 115th against the pass — maybe not a great sign if you’re praying for secondary improvement. Still, the Sun Devils were 35th in points per game allowed, and also 10th in passes defended last year, which at least fits with what the Orange have been trying to do in recent years. ASU was also one of a handful of teams that forced more turnovers than Syracuse did last season (28 for the Sun Devils vs. 25 for ‘Cuse).
White also was part of the UCLA program (as part of football ops) during the 2007 season, while Babers was on staff. He also coached former DC possibility Zach Arnett while he was the linebackers coach with the Lobos, if you want to see how interwoven coaching trees can be.
White will be getting the same two-year deal for the same amount of money with Syracuse, per Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s John Gambadoro. Apparently White’s mother lives in New York, so this was an opportunity to be closer to her (thanks, Mom!).
Though White had yet to call plays as defensive coordinator for ASU, he brings quality experience to the table given his success as an assistant with both the Sun Devils and San Diego State. He was previously named MWC recruiter of the year, and figures to help on the Florida front too, given his focus while in Tempe.
We’re glad to have this role (hopefully) finally settled. Even if it’s not necessarily moving the needle on National Signing Day, it’s a good sign going forward for the defense — and if we make some more additions this offseason.