It‚Äôs been a busy early signing day for Syracuse football. This afternoon, SU head coach Dino Babers took to the podium to answer some questions about the team‚Äôs offseason so far. In case you haven‚Äôt listened or couldn‚Äôt make it, we‚Äôve broken down some of the main points Babers discussed earlier today.
Recruiting Success Without Some Assistants
Syracuse snagged 13 players this early signing day, and it might come as a surprise considering the team has some unfilled assistant coach spots. The team‚Äôs current hole at offensive coordinator is perhaps the most glaring, but it didn‚Äôt stop SU from signing some talented offensive players, including 3-star running back LeQuint Allen. ‚ÄòCuse head coach Dino Babers surprisingly said the assistant vacancies had no bearing on his recruiting efforts.
‚ÄúWhen it comes to this class, this class was locked in before the season was over, so I don‚Äôt think that [assistant coach vacancies] had any effect at all.‚Äù
As a reminder, Syracuse decided not to bring back offensive coordinator Sterlin Gilbert after two seasons on the job. Asked about how the offensive coordinator search is going, Babers had a pretty simple answer about what kind of guy he‚Äôs looking for.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre looking for a coordinator that can score points‚Ä¶it‚Äôs a process we don‚Äôt want to rush.‚Äù
As of today, no prospective candidates appear to be leading the race for the OC job, but the Fizz has listed a few names SU fans should know about.
Special Teams U Might Be Back
After ranking dead last in the ACC in yards-per-punt and field goal percentage last season, Dino Babers seemed to realize this offseason his team badly needed a special teams coordinator. That role has since been filled by Bob Ligashesky, who has coaching experience dating back to 1985 including stops in the NFL with Denver, Pittsburgh, and Tampa Bay, among others. Babers was high on praise for Ligashesky and noted his skill in communicating with players.
‚ÄúBob Ligashesky is a fantastic coach. I think his resum√© speaks for itself.‚Äù
Ligashesky is going to have the chance to work with former Lou Groza award-winning kicker Andre Szmyt, who defied expectations by returning to Syracuse for next season. On the punting end, a new wildcard has emerged into the fray for ‚ÄòCuse. Max Von Marburg will arrive in time for next season on scholarship all the way from Australia, where he attracted attention by participating in Melbourne‚Äôs ‚ÄúProkick Australia‚Äù program. When asked about Von Marburg, Babers seemed fully confident in the Aussie‚Äôs abilities.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôve seen enough video to feel confident to give him [Von Marburg] an athletic scholarship here at Syracuse.‚Äù
Once he arrives, Von Marburg will likely compete with a few other names for next year‚Äôs punting duties.
Stressed Importance of Geographic Recruiting
A lot has been made over time about the recruiting struggles Syracuse has experienced within New York and its surrounding states, dating all the way back to Greg Robinson‚Äôs mid-2000s tenure. The team still loses out on some of the top talent from the Northeast, but this class featured some nearby products. Two players in the early signing class were from New Jersey (LeQuint Allen, Denis Jaquez Jr.), and one apiece were from New York (Joe Cruz) and Maryland (Donovan Brown), respectively. It‚Äôs a step forward in trying to harness the talent of surrounding states, and Babers seemed satisfied with the guys he brought in within the class.
‚Äú[It’s positive] when you bring in the Gatorade Player of the Year [LeQuint Allen] in the state of New Jersey‚Ä¶we want to get guys as close as we can to us.‚Äù
The Fizz will have more signing day content on the way as we move into SU football‚Äôs offseason.