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Syracuse football: Recapping ACC Kickoff

Here’s what Dino Babers and some players had to say about the upcoming season

NCAA Football: ACC Media Days Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Members of the Syracuse Orange football squad made their way to Charlotte, North Carolina for yesterday’s ACC Kickoff event. Representing the ‘Cuse were Head Coach Dino Babers, OL Matt Bergeron, LB Mikel Jones, and QB Garrett Shrader. Here’s what each of them had to say:


  • Babers had high praise for his new OC: “Coach (Robert) Anae is someone I’ve never worked with before, but we’ve walked the same path... He’s already had a drastic effect on our passing game.”
  • Bringing QB coach Josh Beck along too was “icing on the cake.”: “I think he’s one of the bright minds of college football.”
  • Dino also mentioned the contributions of new WRs coach Michael Johnson and special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky. Both have coaching experience in college and the NFL, and the latter is a Super Bowl Champion (2008-09 Steelers).
  • “Garrett (Shrader) is one of our team leaders... There’s no doubt that not only does he bleed Orange, but he has the respect and the love of the people around him.”
  • “Based off of how tough our schedule is, we must do a much, much better job at home.” The Orange were 3-4 in the Dome last season.
  • “It seems like our schedule is back ended, and that’s ok.”
  • “We think we have a real stable foundation right now... We can go deep into November.”
  • Regularly scheduled Sean Tucker praise: “Sean is relentless. He works out all the time.”
  • While also on track, Tucker never missed a spring football practice. He also stayed over winter break and was the only one working out.
  • Sean is actually better than last year and that there is no limit on his workload.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 Wake Forest at Syracuse Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
  • The 3-3-5 is heading in the right direction. “These guys really know the system.”
  • Mikel Jones is the “heartbeat of the defense,”; unpredictability is its greatest strength
  • Finally, he’s eager to treat Malik Cunningham and Louisville to the Dome crowd in Week 1.


  • “I feel like this offseason, I’ve been more vocal.”
  • Bergeron considers himself lucky to have played as a freshman.
  • “I’ve been comfortable at LT, that’s where I want to keep going.”
  • Expects an explosive offense with a more balanced run/pass attack.
  • We wanted this to be asked, and Matt answered: “I’m blessed to be blocking for one of the best backs in college football”
  • “I’d like to be more consistent as a player, work on my hand placement,” noting how NFL looks at that.


  • Sees Louisville as a good opportunity and is excited to start off the season against them.
  • More Sean Tucker praise: he’s the best RB Mikel has seen in his four college years.
  • “We want to focus on the turnovers... get back to those habits.”
  • Said he came back for 2019 group that’s been together through “wins and losses, more of the losses.” Bowl game is a “long time coming.”


  • On Anae and Beck: “Those guys coach you hard, with passion. My job is to be an extension of them.”
  • Thanked the o-line for allowing the run game to thrive last season and expects they’ll do the same again this fall.
  • “We’ve got a lot of receivers that didn’t get to show themselves.”
  • Believes the Orange have all the pieces they need for a winning season.

Did anything jump out at you yesterday? Let us know in the comments.