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Dino Babers enters his 3rd year as a head coach for the 1st time in his career

first_img Published on August 29, 2018 at 9:06 pm Contact Josh: [email protected] | @Schafer_44 In October of 2016, Dino Babers stood in the locker room in a blue full-zip Syracuse jacket and his game day khaki pants. Babers talked about how the opponent didn’t know the work his team had put in. The pregame points spread was more than 20. Virginia Tech thought they’d have an easy game. After a long pause, he began to chant.“Whose house?” Babers yelled.“Our house,” the players responded.The video of Syracuse celebrating its win over then-No. 17 Virginia Tech went viral. It reached more than 300,000 views on ESPNU’s Twitter. After orchestrating Syracuse’s first win over a ranked opponent since November 2012, Babers had rejuvenated the faith in the program.“That’s what college football’s all about. That excitement, that energy, it’s so pure,” Babers said after the game. “Anytime … you have an opportunity to experience something like that, it’s always going to be special.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Virginia Tech game gave Syracuse fans a reason to believe. An upset win over then-No. 2 Clemson provided the evidence Babers promised in Year 2.At Babers’ last two head coaching stops, a moment like the Clemson upset is where everything started to click. In his first stop at Eastern Illinois, Babers’ team jumped five wins from Year 1 to Year 2 and finished 12-2. After one season at Bowling Green, the Falcons improved by two wins and finished at 10-3.But at SU, the record remained stagnant — repeating a 4-8 finish each of the last two years. Babers, who owns a 45-32 career record as a head coach, will enter unchartered waters as he leads a football team for a third season for the first time in his career.Daily Orange File Photo“Year 3 is when you can really start to fairly judge the coaches, even though it’s still not entirely their recruits,” said Stewart Mandel, editor-in-chief of The Athletic CFB. “The guys they didn’t recruit are upperclassmen who have been in that system for two years. So I think, at this point, you’ll have a pretty accurate reflection of the talent there and the program that he runs.”While the first two years had the same end result, Syracuse showed improvement in Year 2 under Babers. Both the Orange’s offensive (25.7 points per game in 2016 to 27.4 in 2017) and defensive (38.6 points allowed per game in 2016 to 32.2 in 2017) numbers boosted in the second year under the new coaching staff.The win over then-No. 2 Clemson was emblematic of improvements. It was Syracuse’s biggest upset since 1984. The Orange played tighter with ranked opponents in 2017 than they did in years past, twice sitting within two points of Top 25 teams on the road. They lost both, though, with a Sept. 23, 35-26 loss at LSU and a 27-19 loss at Miami on Oct. 21.“The question is can he build some momentum off of it,” said Bruce Feldman, a National College Football Insider for The Athletic and a sideline reporter for Fox College Football.“That’s why it’s kind of a swing year again.”A Syracuse team which enters the season without 63.6 percent of its receiving yardage from 2017 and its starting linebacker corps graduated, has the Orange predicted to finish last out of the seven teams in the Atlantic Division. At ACC media day, Babers said his team needs to have a season like North Carolina State did last year— which featured two wins against ranked opponents, two wins in November and a bowl game victory. NC State finished 9-4 including a 6-2 mark in the ACC.In two years under Babers, Syracuse is a combined 4-12 in the ACC. The Orange have yet to win a game in November, a month in which starting quarterback Eric Dungey hasn’t played a full game. Through two seasons, Babers has fulfilled some of his promises. The offense has played fast. He’s beaten top teams.But Babers wants more.Laura Angle | Digital Design Editor“It’s really important for us to find a way to not only stay true to our motto, to play fast but to also find a way to finish,” Babers said on July 19. “And to finish the month off, November, the way we’ve played September and October.”Babers said entering Year 3, the locker room is full of more of “his guys.” Players like Dungey, running back Dontae Strickland and defensive tackle Chris Slayton have been a big part of what’s defined Years 1 and 2, but haven’t always played in Babers’ system. In Year 3, Babers said they know it so well they likely forgot their old one. Facebook Twitter Google+ “This is new ground for me as well,” Babers said on Aug.1, one day before 2018 fall camp began. “But I think just having a better understanding of what’s going on in the conference, having a better understanding of the 107 guys in the room.”More than half of the players listed on the two-deep depth chart ahead of the Western Michigan game are Babers recruits. Junior college transfers Ravian Pierce and Alton Robinson have solidified themselves at the end positions on opposite sides of the ball. Freshman safety Andre Cisco started at free safety in the nickel defense during training camp. It’s the combination of the players who are directly Babers’ guys and those who have learned the way that will define Year 3.“Everybody’s headed in the right direction,” Babers said on Aug. 1. “I think there’s more of our type of guys in the room than before, and I think it’s going to pay off for us in the long run.” Commentslast_img read more

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