No-so-bold prediction: This will be the best offense Dino Babers has had at Syracuse. In each of the past two seasons, the offense has shown flashes of being a really special unit. Unfortunately for the Orange, injuries and other variables have gotten in the way of some of that progress. This year, however, the improved offensive line should help solve most of those problems.
“Our offensive line is the best we’ve had since I’ve been there,” Dino Babers told reporters. “I think that’s a huge advantage for us and I think it’s one of our keys to the season.”
With experience and skill at every position on the offensive line, the position that was once a weakness for the Orange has turned into a strength. Now, the Orange can count on its front five to open holes for running backs Dontae Strickland and Moe Neal. Speaking of those two, quarterback Eric Dungey told reporters he loves the progress Neal has made over the offseason, saying he’s put on weight and worked hard on his craft. Moments later, Babers clarified Neal is strictly a running back for the Orange this year. In years past, SU has tried Neal at receiver, a position he played some in high school.
Babers: "You can't settle for being close. It's time to get over the hump."
— Orange Fizz (@OrangeFizz) July 19, 2018
A question that many have on their minds is who will be the breakout receiver this year. In 2016, it was Amba Etta-Tawo. Last season, it was Steve Ismael. Both of those players were named to the All-America team.
“We’ve got four or five guys in my mind that I think could be those next guys,” Dungey said. “Obviously somebody is going to catch the ball, so we’ve just got to wait and see who it is.”
With wide receiver and linebackers being the weakest position on Syracuse’s roster, I’d say the linebackers warrant much more concern than the receivers do. Babers is known to coach receivers very well and Orange fans have seen that first hand over the past two seasons. It’s only a matter of time before we know who the next breakout star will be.
As far as who is throwing the receivers the ball, Syracuse is in good hands. For the first time with Babers at the helm, SU has serious depth at quarterbacks. Led by senior Eric Dungey, the Orange has one of the best group of signal callers in the ACC. What that means is that SU will be much more equipped to deal with an Eric Dungey injury. The reason why? Tommy DeVito. The former four-star recruit will be ready to step up if his name is called for any reason.
The biggest change in the Syracuse offense can be summed up in one work: depth. Syracuse should put up big numbers this year because they can withstand hits on the offensive line and at quarterback.
“From a talent standpoint, it’s the most talent we’ve had from senior to freshman since I’ve been there,” Babers said “Now, that doesn’t mean everybody is ready to play. Some of them, potentially they can be outstanding.”