The Orange is coming off of one of the most underwhelming seasons in program history, and ESPN doesn’t think that next year will be much better either. Despite an exciting new hire in Dino Babers and the return of young talent, the folks over in Bristol think that Syracuse has just too many holes to fill.
ESPN’s full write-up on SU reads, “Coach Dino Babers comes in to try to revamp an offense that has struggled the past two seasons thanks to terrible luck at quarterback. But there are holes that have to be plugged just about everywhere.”
While there is some truth to the above blurb, some of the most important positions on the roster are locked in. Assuming concussions are no longer an issue, SU will have Eric Dungey back at quarterback, a player who single-handedly generated excitement for a program in a down year as a true freshman. With a season under his belt, Dungey will have a chance to improve on almost all aspects of his game, even minimizing contact. Babers’ offense will certainly look different than former offensive-coordinator Tim Lester’s, but Dungey should still be able to use his legs if Syracuse’s offense is to look anything like Baylor’s and Bowling Green’s.
Syracuse should also be set at the other skill positions on offense: running back and wide receiver. The Orange returns freshman backs Jordan Fredericks and Dontae Strickland, as well as wide receiver standout Steve Ishmael. For the first time since 2012, the Orange’s strength is going to be on the offensive side of the ball, not defensively.
Yet, as ESPN points out, Syracuse has holes nearly everywhere else, especially on the offensive line. With National Signing Day rapidly approaching, the incoming recruiting class leaves a lot to be desired. Although Babers’ has had an incredibly late start to the game and has dealt with a recruiting dead period, things must turn around quickly before it’s too late. Most recently, three-star defensive back Monquavion Brinson decomitted from SU.
It’s also important to note that the Orange will face off with a potential four ranked teams next season. In a “way too early top-25”, SU will face off against four teams that made the cut. Clemson, who just dropped the Natioanl Championship game to Alabama, returns a boatload of talent and comes in as the top team. Furthermore, Florida State comes in at number six. Lousiville, another ACC foe snuck in at 24, while Notre Dame is ninth. The Orange returns to Metlife Stadium one last time to take on the Fighting Irish. How’s that as a test for Babers?