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Syracuse football: Key takeaways from the first press conference of summer camp

We’ve got football, folks. And people are talking about it.

Connecticut v Syracuse Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

We have a schedule, we have a training camp, and that means we’ve got Syracuse Orange football to look forward to. That means we get press conferences from training camps, and Dino Babers, Andre Cisco, and Airon Servais talked with the media before SU takes the field for the first time since March. Here are some of the interesting topics touched upon.

Players opting out

Apart from the official announcement of game dates, the biggest news of the morning came from Cooper Dawson, who announced on Twitter that he was opting out of the 2020 season due to Covid-19 concerns. All three members of the press conference mentioned that they support the decision made by Dawson and would not have any problem if anyone else decided to opt out. Servais also mentioned that the players received notice on Wednesday night that they could retain eligibility if they opted out of the season because of COVID-19 and that guys were still making decisions.

That brought up the interesting problem that many coaches could face if many players decide to opt out or if multiple players test positive for Covid-19. Babers said that Syracuse will try to build some “position flexibility” while Servais preaching the “next man up” attitude in terms of players filling in where necessary. It’s going to be interesting to see how coaches improvise and react to a very fluid roster situation around them.

Black Lives Matter

We’ve heard Babers’s words on the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement but this is the first time that we’ve gotten a chance to hear from some SU player’s mouths on their opinions. Cisco said he was shocked by the events that occurred to trigger the movement. He also mentioned that this movement was nothing new for him, especially after wearing #NotAgainSU on his cleats last season.

Servais also mentioned that the players had discussions with the coaches and higher-ranking officials in the program about their feelings on the Black Lives Matter movement. Importantly, he said that “as a university and a football program, we’re trying to be progressive.” Along the same lines, Servais talked about a potential ACC players response to the united movements of the Pac-12 and the Big Ten players. He mentioned that there was a lot of talk about something along those lines, but he didn’t know a lot about them since it was “a new conversation in the ACC.”

Testing Protocol

A lot of praise was thrown Syracuse’s way toward its testing regime and protocols through the return of student-athletes to campus. Babers said that they’ve conducted over 1,200 tests, and while he didn’t disclose any results, he was confident that SU’s results ranked highly among other programs. Cisco and Servais also praised the testing protocols, with Cisco mentioning that the testing is part of the reason he feels confident that they can at the very least start a football season.

New Coordinators

One of the other big talking points of the press conference was the introduction of new offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert and new defensive coordinator Tony White. Babers praised both of them to start saying that they’ve done a good job of passing along their information along to the players and now it’s about practicing fundamentals and techniques. The head coach also mentioned that because spring practice was cut short, that they may be playing the wrong starters during the first week of the season.

Babers also said that while Syracuse was at a disadvantage because of their two new coordinators, there was an advantage because other teams haven’t seen them call plays. It should be really interesting if Orange players can execute the new gameplans correctly to give them a small leg up on the competition early in the season.

That’s just a few of the things that were discussed in this initial press conference. If you want live updates on what’s being said by Syracuse players and coaches during these media sessions, follow me on twitter @CTDeGuz. Let us know what you think about the first presser of training camp in the comments below.