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Syracuse football: Chris Achuff hired as new Orange linebackers coach

SU didn’t even wait a week before filling the position.

NFL: JUL 26 Cardinals Training Camp Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Less than a week ago, we found out that Syracuse Orange linebackers coach Steve Stanard was leaving for Kansas State. And in a surprisingly quick move, Dino Babers has already hired his replacement.

On Wednesday, Syracuse announced they’d hired Chris Achuff as the team’s new linebackers coach. Achuff was most recently the defensive line coach with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals in 2019, and was an assistant defensive line coach for the team in 2018. From 2008-16, he worked as a defensive line coach at Baylor, overlapping a few years with Babers on that staff.

Achuff’s a Philadelphia native, though one that has been pretty focused on the line and hasn’t really worked within a 3-3-5 scheme. However, the Cardinals played an aggressive 3-4 with Achuff on staff, and that defense clearly got a lot out of it — especially in the form of stellar numbers for former Syracuse standout Chandler Jones. The NFL experience for Achuff could also be a nice sell for recruiting, as it draws a more direct line to the expertise needed to evaluate talent at that level.

Though Achuff never worked directly with new Orange defensive coordinator Tony White, the two spent the last two years in the greater Phoenix area (White was at ASU). So it would make sense they interacted at least once or twice — not that the connection was needed based on Babers’s previous working relationship.

A surprising hire, but also a pretty interesting one that comes at the right time with spring football just getting started. Welcome aboard, Coach Achuff.