The Dome slate is officially over for Syracuse Orange football, but they still have a pair of road games to conclude the regular season. The first of those two will be against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons... who we must remind you do not actually play in Wake Forest. Before SU travels to Winston-Salem, Coach Babers and several players answered our questions:
Dino began his weekly press conference by taking a moment to reflect on the recent shooting at the University of Virginia. The three victims, Devin Chandler, D’Sean Perry and Lavel Davis Jr. competed against Syracuse earlier this season.
“We have coaches that know those players (referring to Coaches Anae and Beck) ... It’s a disturbing time, and it puts us back into what’s truly important. Family, football, and putting those things in the right perspective, that’s a big deal to us.”
- To try fixing low-scoring 3rd quarters, the Orange have been cutting their halftime down and coming out to have more time to warm up. Babers said that seems to be having the opposite effect of what they wanted, and they may be staying in the locker room until the late minute now.
- The team may rotate in some redshirt offensive lineman in as needed.
- “We have to find a way to get Shrader at full strength” or defenses will continue to swarm Oronde Gadsden and Sean Tucker.
- “We’re all disappointed about what happened on Saturday. That’s not a direct reflection on what we’ve represented this year... We have to find a way to put our best foot forward, play with our strengths and shield our weaknesses.”
- “I feel like I’ve made strides, health wise this past week, exponentially from the past three weeks. So I think we’ll be able to do a little bit more... we’re going to really start stressing defenses again and actually make them cover the whole field.”
- On the team’s 2nd half struggles: “It hasn’t been easy, and we still haven’t figured it out yet, but I think this week will be the first test of being able to get back to those first six games.”
- On Chris Elmore: “He’s definitely a guy that you don’t realize what you have until he’s gone.”
- Rhino made the long-awaited announcement that he will not be returning to Syracuse next year and is taking a shot at cracking an NFL roster. He wants to specialize at fullback but is willing to play wherever a team has a use for him.
- “I’ve been here six years of blood, sweat and tears. I love this program with everything, but I feel like is my body telling me it’s time for a change.”
- Elmore decided that he wasn’t returning as early as week 2 of the season. “I just knew that it was over.”
- If the NFL doesn’t work, a healthy Elmore would consider playing in the CFL or XFL. “I want to shoot my shot with football as long as it takes me.”
- Once he feels that his playing days are over, Chris wants to coach at the collegiate level.
- “Definitely” believes that he left the Orange in a better position than when he arrived.
- His recovery from the ACL tear is going well, faster than expected but still a few months from beginning any real football-related work.
- A message to the fans: “Rhino loves you all! No hard feelings with me going, but all good things come to an end.”
- Confirmed that he will also be departing the program at the end of the year.
- On Senior Day festivities: “Those fans have done a lot for me throughout the five years I’ve been here... my parents enjoyed the pregame stuff.”
- “Something we’ve been trying to focus on is just, we’ve been hitting four-yard runs, four-yard runs, but we need to get those more explosive plays going in the run game.”
- On playing on the D-Line as a true freshman: “It’s been awesome. I got some great dudes next to me. The upperclassmen have helped me out a lot, Caleb and Kevon and all the older dudes. So it’s been great to work with them.”
- “I feel like I need to improve on my power the most, and my run style.”
- “We want to win. We want to play somewhere warm for the bowl game... We had a crappy last couple games, but we’re not going to let that put us down. We’re going to keep fighting.”
- On the fanbase: “They’ve been awesome, and they’ve been sticking with us. Even though we had a bad couple games, they’re still here with us. So it means a lot.”