Home Press Conference: Syracuse football coach Dino Babers

Press Conference: Syracuse football coach Dino Babers


syracuseSyracuse football coach Dino Babers talks with reporters. The Orange (2-4, 0-2 ACC) host #17 Virginia Tech (4-1, 2-0 ACC) on Saturday.

Opening Statement: “I just wanted to put the Wake Forest game to bed. I thought our defense played extremely well. From a kicking game standpoint, I thought our young people went out there and handled the weather really well. We obviously punted the ball a little too much, but I thought Sterling did a fantastic job with the difficulties of punts, some straight and some rugby to keep the other offense at bay and on the other side of the football field. I wished we would have played a little sharper on offense. There were some outstanding individual performances. I thought Cameron MacPherson had his best game. I thought (Parris) Bennett and Zaire (Franklin), our linebackers, did a fabulous job. Overall, based on performance, I think our team fought and stayed in the battle. It came down to the end until late in the fourth quarter.

The team we play on Saturday in Virginia Tech has a proud tradition. I played Fuente last year at our other stops. He’s an outstanding offensive coach. Bud Foster is a fabulous defensive coordinator. He’s one of the top defensive coordinators in college football. They have a lot of good players. They have a lot of athletes on their team. I was looking at a statistic and I believe they’ve been to a bowl game 23 years in a row. When you do something like that, not only do you have a lot of good coaches, you have a lot of good players. It’s going to be a challenging task. We’re excited to get back in the Dome. No rain, no wind, no snow. We’re looking forward to putting forward a fantastic effort back home in front of the fans.”

On adjusting on offense in the second half: “We are doing everything we can and I think we’re doing a good job. The thing about offense is, one guy makes a mistake and it can stop the entire play. Sometimes you can cover it up, but most of the time it can stop the entire play. Defensively, you can have one person make a mistake and if they guess wrong and go the wrong way, it can be covered up. They guess right, it looks really bad. Offensively, it just takes a little more time. From the first half to the second half, we’re going to have to keep working at it. We can’t tell you why it works one half and not the other half. These young men, they’re close. I think as long as we keep with the process and keep doing the things we need to do; we’re going to be fine.”

On a young team making halftime adjustments with a new system: “This is my third time around. My first time around when we were at Eastern Illinois with Jimmy Garoppolo and he had been a starter for two years in a traditional throw offense. So in changing concepts with him, he had already had a two-year base. Going to Bowling Green, the very first year our quarterback got hurt in the first game and we had to go to our backup the entire year. We won our side of the conference and lost the championship game. We had some difficulties with him because he didn’t have as much game management experience as the starter who got hurt in the first game. The second year, we got the young man back, it was a lot smoother. Here, Dungey has the experience as a starter but when you’re changing from an option based offense to a throwing offense. He didn’t have the throwing concepts that we have. It takes time until we build his reservoir. It’s not just Dungey, it’s the entire offense. Until we build all of them up enough, we can be really comfortable with the adjustments we’re making. Traditionally, the offense gets really good somewhere in the second year between game four and six.”

On what he asks the offensive line to look for before the snap: “The centers, the guards, the quarterback, the entire offensive line, they have a lot to do before the snap. So does the defensive line. The thing with tempo is everyone is accelerated. You have to be able to operate at that accelerated pace. We talked about playing chess and putting extra pressure on the opponent. I think the biggest thing is you have to take a deep breath and relax. Even though it looks chaotic, it’s under control. The biggest thing Wake Forest did was attack some of our young people inside and we need to be able to do things to help them in that situation. We tried to adjust and it turned into physical mismatches. We were solid but some of their ‘Jimmys’ were tougher than some of our ‘Joes’ and stronger. We had issues with leakage internally on some things.”

On running ball: “The biggest thing about that is you take hits off of your quarterback. When you’re out there and you’re trying to throw the ball and the weather’s not agreeing with you, whether he’s sacked or not he’s taking shots. Every time he takes off and runs, he takes a hit. Those bruises add up when you want him to throw the ball efficiently in the third or fourth quarter. You can control the amount of times he’s going to be hit when you run the football. If we had run it a little bit more, he and we might have a been a lot fresher in the second half when the weather changed.”

On how he thinks his team is doing halfway through the season: “I think we’re still growing. Obviously there have been some shortcomings and there have some fantastic things that have gone on. It happens with maturity. It happens with growth. The toughest thing going on this year is the massive turnover in personnel and having to constantly reteach or go back to start building again on that foundation so that you can start doing more exotic things.”

On Virginia Tech’s success this year: “I know a lot about Fuente. I’ve seen Bud Foster’s work over the years. I know how good he is. I believe against their last three opponents the average score is 45-7. Outside of the Tennessee loss, they’ve been playing fantastic. They have explosive players. They’re extremely well-coached on defense. They’re aggressive and physical. Offensively, their scheme works. I’ve seen it up close and personal when Fuente was at Memphis, when they scored 44 points on my team. I’m very familiar with what they do on offense.”

On what he’ll say to the players this week to help them stay focused on the process: “We have some really good players and the thing we have to do is make sure our really good players always play really good. We don’t have enough good players, that our good players can’t play good. We have some fantastic role players. They’re doing a nice job in their role. If they want to increase their role, they have to do better if they want to become one of those go-to players. I think in the Wake Forest game, some of our good players didn’t well. On that point, it’s no different with the coaching staff. I don’t consider our coaches or myself to be average and I thought in that game we were just o.k. We have to be a lot better as coaches. We have to make sure we’re giving better opportunities for these young men to go to a bowl.”



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