The Syracuse Orange did not finish the season bowl eligible, and we saw the program’s offseason begin on Sunday with three coaches moving on from the Orange. Syracuse Athletic Director John Wildhack addressed these changes, among a host of other topics, on Monday.
Who’s back and why
NEW: Syracuse AD John Wildhack says Dino Babers will be returning as head coach of the football team in 2022. pic.twitter.com/MjEOIAF8Q1— Tommy CNY (@TommySladek) November 29, 2021
Wildhack says buyout and a lack of desire to pay it has no factor in the decision to keep Dino Babers. Says Babers’ contract goes beyond 2022 (which we all expected).— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) November 29, 2021
Wildhack: if you bring in a new head coach, that coach brings in a new staff. That means Tony White isn’t here. We had a run game that was the best in the ACC. We need to find coaches the caliber of Tony White and Mike Schmidt.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) November 29, 2021
Starting with the obvious, but the Orange are going to coached by Dino Babers to start the 2022 season. The reasons this move were made were not entirely clear, beyond Wildhack’s previously expressed belief in Dino, but the reasons he wasn’t fired were made far more clear. We spent plenty of time speculating what that buyout is, and why it’s prohibitive, so to hear Wildhack say “it played no factor,” feels a bit disingenuous when he’s claimed similar sentiments in the past. On that note, the idea that keeping Babers to keep White is simply a bad way of thinking. I wrote about this a bit back in September: College football doesn’t allow you to keep the best talent unless you pay the most money. If White is successful, he will leave. The only way to keep him is pay him, or promote him. Wildhack seems to understand part of that, but again: do you really need another year to decide if White is HC material? Unless Syracuse is willing to pay coordinators the same or more than head coaches, thinking like this will lead to poor long term decisions.
The goals of the program moving forward
Wildhack: I’m never going to put a number out there but we want to be playing a 13th game. We want to be competitive in our division.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) November 29, 2021
Wildhack said he has confidence that SU's passing game can get better after a full offseason of Garrett Shrader working with WRs.— Stephen Bailey (@Stephen_Bailey1) November 29, 2021
On the OC vacancy: Dino's call, but "we've talked about someone who's worked with and developed quarterbacks."
Syracuse being a consistent bowl team is a goal we’ve heard echoed by AD’s prior to Wildhack, and seems like a fine goal when the Orange continue to be ranked in the bottom tier of ACC football resourcing, recruiting, and on field performance. That said, the scheduling isn’t helping this goal at all. We talked about the difficulty of this year’s schedule on the LiveCast, but if you didn’t listen, the Orange have BC, Wake, Pitt, Clemson, and UConn on the road, and Florida State, Louisville, NC State, Virginia, Purdue, Notre Dame, Wagner at home. Yikes.
On the offensive side of the bowl, Dino has made it clear he wants to run his traditional offense instead of the run based attack this season utilized. Is Shrader the guy? I’m skeptical. But it sounds like Wildhack has been convinced Shrader can be that type of QB with the right offseason hires and development, and if not for him, for Jacobian Morgan and Justin Lamson.
How will they achieve these goals?
Wildhack says Syracuse went into last offseason knowing the offensive line needed to improve. The program made a hire. Things got better. He says Syracuse needs to make three strong hires.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) November 29, 2021
Wildhack says he hopes to make enhancements to recruiting staff that can impact next season. Says he will need alumni and donor support.— chris carlson (@ccarlsononSU) November 29, 2021
Special teams will also be addressed next season, Wildhack said. The Orange didn’t have a special teams coordinator in 2021, leading to struggles with the unit the entire season.— Anish Vasudevan (@anish_vasu) November 29, 2021
It sounds like the coaching staff is going to make some major changes, if not just in filling vacancies but reshuffling roles to ensure the team’s weaknesses are addressed more directly. Special teams was a black hole this year, and the desire to address it is comforting. The rest, we’ll see. We saw the last time the Orange hired a coordinator that the coaching carousel can get wild, and I’m assuming Wildhack and Babers learned from the last cycle how to ensure they get their guy in the door as soon as possible.