The good news is Dino Babers gets it. The better news is he’s staying. Syracuse’s head coach has proven since he stepped onto campus that marketing and promotion comes easy. This is not to say Babers is just a carnival barker, because he can clearly coach as well. But his savviness with social media, his ease in front of a microphone, and embracing his locker room speeches going viral are all examples of Babers being able to spread his message.
That message is that Syracuse is a place to be, and it’s an exciting time to be there. “Orange is the New Fast” was a perfect marketing slogan, and recruiting has clearly improved under his watch. Winning also helps in this endeavor even more than marketing, so SU’s high profile games against Clemson and Notre Dame, plus making a bowl game was the proof things are working. Optimism is high around the program, and you can see the Vegas odds of Syracuse’s success at sites like bet-wv.com.
Now there’s Eric Dungey, who is in Giants camp and learning a new position. Sounds like New York has enough bodies under center, so the team is looking at Dungey to learn tight end.
“I just told them, ‘I just want to be able to play. Whatever you want. Be patient with me. Just teach me, and I’m going to learn it to the best of my ability,’” Dungey said. “I think the biggest thing for me is just trying to learn the offense so I can play fast.”
With Daniel Jones as the 6th pick overall, the Giants have already staked their future at the quarterback position to the Duke standout. And while this may be the final season of Eli Manning in New York, it would be beneficial for Dungey to be able to adapt to an H-Back role. With a young quarterback like Jones, teams usually bring in a veteran to back him up. So the opportunity is unlikely to be at signal-caller for the Giants.
But that’s okay, because it’s all about finding a team that believes in your ability and sounds like Pat Shurmur is open-minded about Dungey.
“He obviously made a lot of plays with his feet [in college]. He’s one of those guys that we sort of had our eye on throughout the draft. I think he’s a good football player. Usually, there’s a place on the field for guys that can play football.”
An accomplished quarterback whose lack of ego allows him to transition to another position is rare (see Tebow, Tim). And one who makes that transition successfully is a gift for NFL teams looking to utilize creative college concepts in the ever-experimental NFL universe. If Dungey finds a role in the NFL that will speak well for SU’s quarterbacks at the next level, even if that’s not as a traditional signal-caller. And once a college program begins churning out NFL draft picks (like Oklahoma in recent years) it attracts more of the best.
We’re not comparing Dungey becoming an H-Back to Heisman winners going first overall, but the idea that Dungey is seen as a valuable commodity in the NFL is big for the SU program. And with Babers continuing his momentum, he may have another way to sell his school to highly-touted quarterbacks.