In the latest edition of a multi-part series, editorial staff of The Juice Online discuss various topics on Syracuse athletics. Today’s topic: On Monday morning, Dino Babers will be named the 30th head coach of Syracuse football. Was this a good hire for the Orange? The Juice Online’s Steve Auger and Jim Stechschulte weighed in.
Jim Stechschulte, Senior Columnist
Just one week ago, the sun set on an era of Syracuse football. Its shining light, Riley Dixon, completed his eligibility. This Saturday, however, the sun rose again to shine on Syracuse football. This time, though, it was a coach and not a punter, as Dino Babers was announced as the head coach of the Orange.
I kid. And I don’t.
Babers’ arrival at Syracuse ushers in something that has rarely been seen on the Hill since Donovan McNabb graduated – an era of exciting offense. Babers’ spread offense, which he brings from his time as an assistant at Baylor, is perhaps best described in one word: ultra-aggressive. SU fans are going to have to get used to a no-huddle, hurry-up attack that throws the deep ball a ton. Babers’ offense at Bowling Green this year finished third in both total yards (566.0) and passing yards (387.8) per game. Syracuse, in contrast, finished 118th and 116th in those two categories, respectively.
Now, Babers does say that it takes a year for the players to get a complete grasp of his system and that it gets rolling around the mid-point of the second season. Somehow, I suspect it will be worth the wait.
Steve Auger, Senior Columnist
If you’ve been longing for a return to the high scoring, quick strike offense that used to be as common at the Carrier Dome as snow in upstate New York, you just might’ve gotten your wish. And no, Mike Hopkins isn’t going to scrap the play book while Jim Boeheim is on an NCAA-mandated hiatus. In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Dino Babers will be bringing his fast-break-on-turf offense to Syracuse after being hired by Mark Coyle to (hopefully) revive the Orange football program.
And there are quite a few shiny, new cars in the Orange’s garage that Babers probably can’t wait to test drive in the form of Eric Dungey, Steve Ishmael, Brisly Estime, Erv Philips, Jordan Fredericks and Dontae Strickland. Syracuse’s offense this past season, its first under former Offensive Coordinator Tim Lester, did show signs of life. The most noticeable difference was the return of the big play. Syracuse scored 12 touchdowns on the year of 20 yards or longer. The six players mentioned above combined for all 12. Three of them were over 50 yards.
Will Babers be able to reignite Syracuse football and remind fans of what it was like when Donovan McNabb used to play long toss with Marvin Harrison and Kevin Johnson? If he does, the rest of the ACC is going to discover that if you keep picking on the new kid, the new kid finally figures out how to fight back.