All clips in this story courtesy of Syracuse Athletics
Over his eight years in Central New York, Dino Babers has usually carried a relatively cheery demeanor in his press conferences. Even after all the losses (often very crushing ones), he’s typically held a positive attitude and has had a mutual respect for the media. But in the wake of a humbling loss to North Carolina, we’ve seen a different side of Babers’ personality in his postgame press conference as well as his weekly media availability on Monday.
We’ve got three clips (technically four) to analyze, each of them as telling as the next one. Is this a worrying trend or is it simply a direct product of Saturday’s humiliation? Let’s take a look.
We’ll start by cutting Dino a little slack. That blocked punt that wasn’t was one of the most berserk plays you will ever see on a gridiron at any level. It’s understandable that Babers was frustrated, but that doesn’t make this almost argumentative attitude any more shocking. It’s one thing to defend your decision to challenge the call, it’s another to try and start a back and forth with reporters. Regardless of how incorrect the refs’ decision may or may not have been, it was a very Boeheim-esque move. While it was very common with the men’s basketball legend, we’ve never seen anything like this with Babers.
Babers has always been secretive and unwilling to reveal too much when it comes to injuries. But, building off the first clip, because someone took your side in a debate now you’re going to cater to her question? This in no way is a jab at the reporter in question, but if I had agreed with Coach Babers on some sort of issue leading up to the Purdue game, would he have answered a question about Oronde Gadsden’s status? Whether you think coaches should give the media information about potential injuries is a totally different issue, but this sudden inconsistency in how Babers answers questions about them doesn’t feel right.
The wording is very different, but Babers practically said the same things about Maye and Travis in consecutive weeks. Based off his tone, even though he said Travis would be the best QB SU plays all year, he sounded a little uncertain. Notice the pause after Babers says “he will be” before getting into his thoughts. Additionally, he follows that up with “that’s really hard for me to say”. Makes sense given what he said about Maye last week. Coach, please be both confident and decisive in how you evaluate opposing teams. Maye and Travis are probably 1 and 2 in the ACC QB hierarchy, but seemingly changing your mind on who’s the best is not great.
The murderers row stretch of Syracuse’s schedule is coming to an end after this weekend’s clash with #4 Florida State. With it, hopefully we go back to the norm with how Babers interacts with the media during their sessions, because they have had an uncomfortably different vibe.