Following another losing Syracuse Orange football season, fans were pretty certain there would be coaching staff changes coming for SU. Thus far, it seems that changes are occurring — just not the ones we were expecting initially.
According to reports on Sunday, two Syracuse assistants have already been let go. Defensive line coach Vince Reynolds is out, per Yahoo’s Pete Thamel, while Syracuse.com’s Nate Mink reported that tight ends coach Reno Ferri also won’t be retained. Both coaches have been on Dino Babers’s staff since he first arrived in 2016.
Most Orange fans would’ve expected to hear offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert was let go first and foremost after the team’s late-season collapse. And while he’s not first, he could also be on the way out if and when Syracuse finds the right hire to replace him. We don’t have salary information for SU’s staff, but there’s a chance that letting go of Reynolds and Ferri allows Babers to spend more on an OC replacement for Gilbert.
If they don’t replace Gilbert this offseason, though, I’m not really sure what to say about the direction of this program. After a disastrous debut season at Syracuse in 2020 (just 17.8 points per game), SU averaged 24.9 points per game in 2021 — but fell apart late as teams figured out the run-focused attack almost entirely based on Garrett Shrader’s improvisation and the obvious skill of Sean Tucker. Bringing him back given what we’ve seen the last two years would be a disaster, in my opinion, since he’s yet to show any ability to field an effective offense for more than a handful of games at a time.
If Reynolds and Ferri are the lone departures, they’re in part taking the fall for failures elsewhere. While I’ll admit that production hasn’t always been what it should’ve been from the defensive line these past two years, Reynolds has also overseen some of the best pass-rushing seasons in program history. Ferri’s role was potentially just eliminated by way of SU not using the tight ends — a decision in part driven by Gilbert — so I understand that one a bit more. Hopefully the role is replaced with a dedicated special teams coach after 2021’s struggles in that department.
Good luck to Reynolds and Ferri wherever they end up. Hopefully there are more staff shake-ups to come for Syracuse. We’ll be spending some time thinking up possible replacements, and it’s likely many of you will be as well. Ideally, Babers makes at least one of the new hires in the coming week or so, in order to close the 2022 recruiting class (currently just 10 players deep) strong with the early signing period coming up.