In the days and hours before news broke of a developing situation with Syracuse starting running back LeQuintAllenn, momentum was strong with the SU football program. Recruits were rolling in the door, including a four-star quarterback, and morale was generally good as the season creeps closer and closer. Then, a bombshell.
All of the details of the situation can be read in the story, but one thing is clear: Allen will have a very difficult and complicated path to playing for Syracuse this season, and likely ever again. With a situation this serious having played out over multiple months and the season just nearly two months away, it feels difficult for a solution to be found and common ground reached. When you’re suing the university, that feels like there is no coming back from that.
So, this leads back to the person who recruited the former New Jersey Gatorade player of the year to Central New York and has been cultivating him over the past year to be the next lead attraction in Syracuse’s backfield, Dino Babers. Now, these actions are not Babers’ fault, and Allen did take accountability for what he did back in December 2022.
“I take full responsibility for all of my actions and will take any and all steps to stay here at Syracuse University,” Allen said in a statement via syracuse.com.
But, what this does show about Babers is that not only have his football teams been undisciplined on the field during his tenure as head coach with countless mental errors such as pre-snap penalties, unsportsmanlike conduct or unnecessary roughness infractions, or even an on-field kerfuffle like last year against Boston College. Now, these mistakes are translating off the field, and while Babers cannot and should not be blamed for one of his players getting in a fight at a party, it translates to what Syracuse fans see on the field every week.
John Wildhack said last week that Babers had multiple years left on his contract, and entering his eighth season as head coach, it would seem to all outsiders like this is a make-or-break season, but apparently not to his boss. Wildhack would seemingly have had all of this information when he gave his press conference last week, yet still gave Babers that vote of confidence.
Syracuse could be left without one of its premier offensive weapons for the entirety of the 2023 season, completely changing the complexion of how the offense is run, and thrusting unproven freshmen potentially into the starting lineup against Colgate on September 3rd. But, this is all a product of the culture Babers has created at Syracuse, and why SU is a struggling program in the depths of mediocrity in college football.