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Syracuse Athletic Director John Wildhack speaks on Dino Babers and football offseason

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NCAA Football: Albany at Syracuse Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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?

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.