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The Key to a “Successful” Season for Syracuse Football

Dennis Nett/

Today marks the beginning of fall camp for Dino Babers and Syracuse. That also means press conferences! Every week, we’ll get to hear SU’s sixth-year head coach wax poetic about quarterback play and Disney movies. Here’s his opening presser, by way of SU athletics.

The first question, asked by Brent Axe, is a very open-ended inquiry. Axe asks Babers about his definition of the word “success.” Yes, it could be considered a thinly-veiled dig at last year’s 1-10 record, but it’s about time these things start to get addressed and then put aside.

Instead, Dino responds with one of his (in)famous non-answers. “Success is people getting better at everything they do. Yes, winning is a part of it, but we also don’t want anybody to die – there’s a lot of things that go on. But yes, winning is important.”

Uh, ok. Let’s look at it from Babers’ “better every day” perspective.

For the season to be a success for Coach Babers, everyone has to stay healthy. Last season, there were too many Orange players kept out of practice and games, not improving, because they got hurt. Starting QB Tommy DeVito, secondary stars Trill Williams and Andre Cisco and bell cow Sean Tucker all missed games because of various injuries. Obviously Williams and Cisco aren’t at SU anymore, but the few young guys in the defensive backfield with experience are going to be relied upon to carry Tony White’ unit against multiple elite passing attacks. If a Rob Hanna or Ja’Had Carter is to go down, things could get rough for the Orange defense.

Offensively, Tucker is going to be the main threat to opposing defenses, and DeVito needs to be able to provide continuity and confidence for a young receiving corps. If these two key offensive players get hurt, Babers again turns to relative unknowns. Nobody knows what to expect from Garrett Shrader after a year playing receiver at Mississippi State, and Adbul Adams and Jarveon Howard haven’t seen the Carrier Dome turf in almost a year.

If starters succumb to injury, especially late in the season, the SU coaching staff spends practice teaching things the elders learned earlier on the season to backups. There isn’t as much time to correct mistakes made last week, or install a game plan for the upcoming Saturday. At times late on in the 2020 season, Syracuse looked frazzled with the second-and-third-stringers in the game. This year, the Orange have to stay healthy in order to compete.

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