Ahead of a short week for the Syracuse Orange, Dino Babers addressed the media on Monday morning as usual. And after a weird three weeks to start the season, some interesting developments came out of his press conference.
Let’s start with the subject on the minds of most people - the ongoing quarterback battle between Tommy DeVito and Garrett Shrader. Now I’m not going to pretend that me and pretty much everyone at the TNIAAM staff believe there still is one. Unless I’m mistaken, we all believe DeVito should be the starting quarterback moving forward.
Babers, however, started his presser with saying that he’s still going through the evaluation process and wouldn’t commit to a starter. The interesting part came when Babers commented on the utilization of his two capable signal callers.
“Any time you have two guys capable of playing, I really believe it’s more of a ‘starter-reliever’ type situation than anything,” said Babers.
Now that’s interesting because from what we’ve been hearing in the preseason, it seemed there would be some instances and cases where Syracuse would rotate the quarterbacks in-and-out based on the type of play and package the coaches wanted. Now, it seems like we’ll return to the Dungey-DeVito situation back in 2018, where DeVito only came in if Dungey was hurt or struggling (ie North Carolina).
If we’re correct that DeVito will be the starting quarterback moving forward, that’ll certainly frustrate Garrett Shrader, who came to Syracuse in order to win the starting quarterback job and who has been vocal about his belief that he’s earned his playing time. No matter what happens, it seems like the quarterback situation will be a juicy one to monitor for the rest of the season.
The other notable parts from Babers’ press conference related to personnel availability. He started with confirming that Ben Labrosse left the program and went back home to Canada for personal reasons. Babers mentioned that the team misses Labrosse and that they wanted him to stay. The team mailed him his game ball from the Ohio game, which is a very nice gesture for a player that many were high on going into the season.
On the offensive side of the ball, the outlook for Taj Harris seems ok, as he gave Dino a thumbs up in practice to signal he was good for the Liberty game. Babers mentioned that Harris also gave him a thumbs up last week and obviously didn’t play, so it seems like another game-time decision for SU’s No. 1 receiver.
And finally, the status of Luke Benson is still murky. Babers said that he was still going through the evaluations to determine his status as of Monday morning. Benson looked great in Harris’ absence against Albany, being DeVito’s primary target before his injury.
We’ll see how the team shapes up to take on Malik Willis and Liberty on Friday.