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Syracuse football: Dino Babers addresses media on racial injustice, coronavirus

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SU’s football coach talks to the media for the first time since players left campus in March

Syracuse v Florida State Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

Syracuse Orange head football coach Dino Babers talked with the media today about various topics — from the effects of the coronavirus, to the current Black Lives Matter movement. And although he hasn’t held a press conference in some time, Babers remained his witty and insightful self throughout.

One of the main topics of the press conference surrounded the recent racial tensions across the nation. Babers released his first public words on the matter yesterday. He mentioned the difficulties he had releasing that statement, and how his team inspired him publicly address this moment.

“How important it was for them that I get out there and say something; they brought me to tears,” said Babers. “Once I realized how they felt about it, I was like ‘I’ll release it now.’”

Babers also said that his players “opened his eyes” to things he hadn’t considered about because of the generation gap. He said their experiences and feelings motivated him to release his statement. Babers also mentioned the freedom that his players will have expressing their opinion.

“Being able to speak your mind in the United States of America is a constitutional right given by our forefathers,” said Babers. “They are energized and they want to make a difference.”

Babers finally mentioned that he still needs to have further talks with his team. He mentioned that big decisions needed to be made together as a family.

The other main topic of the press conference centered around the challenges caused by the coronavirus. Babers briefly mentioned the safety protocols that are in place and the testing procedures that will happen over the coming weeks. He also mentioned how challenging it was to run his team over Zoom meetings. But perhaps most importantly, he doesn’t know how his team is going to play football in the fall.

“This is going to be an adjust-and-improve situation,” said Babers. “We don’t have a long enough period to work on fundamentals and make good and fair evaluations on people. I’d imagine that the early part of the season will be this; unless you have someone really good in front of you, there’s going to be a lot of people playing because you just don’t know who the starter is.”

Babers also talked about the challenge his team has of learning a new system on both sides of the ball. Sterlin Gilbert and Tony White are the new offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively, for SU. And there have been pros and cons that have been created due to the physical distance coronavirus has created for his staff and the players.

“The ‘Zoom Era’ has actually helped the young men to know the new systems on paper,” said Babers. “They didn’t have the distractions of the social things that are done with college kids.”

Babers supported his new coordinators as well by saying he knows what they’re going to bring to the team, and that his team likes who’s in charge right now. And even though the preparation for the college football season has been crazy, Babers says that he’s comfortable in this situation.

“This is right up my alley,” said Babers. “I think I operate well when you have to adjust and improvise.”