Chip Patterson at CBS Sports filed a piece on his ACC spring football overreactions. After last season’s nightmare, there’s nowhere to go but up. The only way to make ’20 palatable is if it paid dividends for the future. In Chip’s opinion, the losing did exactly that.
“Syracuse already had a young roster last season, but when injuries, opt-outs and other availability issues hit in 2020, the Orange had to lean far more on the youthful end of a roster that had 57 of the 85 scholarship players as true or redshirt freshmen. The on-field results were a one-win season, but the tone Dino Babers takes when discussing his team indicates that experience has had a positive impact on the mentality of the team heading into 2021.” – CBS Sports
Babers is nothing if not positive. In fact, sometimes he’s so optimistic in the face of obvious adversity it can frustrate a fanbase that has listened to a con-man like Groobers or the delusion of Scott Shafer (currently the DC at Middle Tennessee). But Babers insists last year’s losing was a spring board to this year’s winning, and his excitement was noticeable after spring football.
“The defeats that piled up during a 1-10 season hardened the younger players, revealing in practice just how tough Power Five football can be and how far they had to go in their own development to be ready to win in the ACC. Many of those rookie contributors suffered injuries that needed offseason rehabilitation and recovery that kept them out of spring practice, but what Babers said he saw from the super seniors who missed time with injuries in 2020 was a reignited fire and level of competitiveness when they returned to action this spring. When the younger stars who got thrown into the fire early mix with the veterans who are hungry after missing time, it’s going to result in a deeper and far more competitive football team in the fall.” – CBS Sports
Patterson is one of the top college football writers in the country, so it’s unlikely these are just generic talking points to find *something* positive. We recently detailed how injuries thrust Garrett Williams, Ja’Had Carter, and Rob Hanna into action, forming a solid young secondary. In our look ahead to the ’22 NFL Draft, we also noted how Mikel Jones grew in his first year as a starter, and how Dakota Davis may come back hungrier than ever. We looked at how the new roster gives off good vibes.
There’s some obvious conclusions from last year’s decrepit season. They realized how tough winning is. The losing caused introspection. Injured players grew hungry to prove themselves. Experience helped younger players. You wouldn’t need to watch one snap to understand all that. But the larger point is worth considering. Syracuse didn’t fire Babers and unlike the pros, the front office didn’t turn over the roster. So with consistency at the top, the benefit of experience for young players, plus a ready-to-prove-themselves group of veterans, this season may bear fruits of last year’s painful labor.