SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) Dino Babers is known for his boisterous voice and his infectious personality. So, that makes it even more noticeable when the head coach goes silent.
Throughout the spring, the football program has kept to themselves. Practicing and competing against one another until their first and only media availability this week.
Which was by design.
“It was just a matter of getting our work in and making sure everybody can focus,” Babers said.
The need for focus is understandable. After going 1-10 just two seasons after winning ten games, Babers is under pressure from the fanbase for the first time.
Babers, and his players, have been preaching competition. Every position is up for grabs. That includes the battle for the starting quarterback spot. Tommy DeVito, JaCobian Morgan and Dillon Markiewicz are the three QBs returning from a season ago. But with Garrett Shrader transferring in from Mississippi State, the group is as deep as ever.
“Competition is healthy. Anytime you have competition you’re going to make people better. When I think back to our 10-3 season, we had multiple guys behind the center that season,” Babers said.
“That competition is what everyone embraces and it’s throughout the entire team.”
Quarterback success is often tied to the play of the offensive line and this year’s group has a lot to prove. The unit was one of the worst teams in the country at allowing sacks and struggled to produce a running.
Health played a significant role in the lack of production for the line, but as Dino points out, that will not be the case in 2021.
“We have five more young men coming in (August). We’ll get those guys in… and see who can help us. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where we don’t have enough offensive linemen again, period.”
Important quotes from the rest of the press conference
“That backfield is the best backfield we’ve had going into my six years. From top to bottom, I really think that these guys know what they are doing but they can (also) make plays with their legs.”
“You want to know who stands out? Garrett stands out. I’m like, ‘Garrett, you are going to stay around for a while, right?’ (laughs) Garrett is the bomb. He’s the new bell cow. I have to remind him, ‘Garrett, sometimes you have to go on these other receivers.’ He has to make sure he’s constantly getting work and he’s getting better too. There’s only a few clientele out there that can really make him better every day.”
“The last two times we sent (him) in to catch a pass in a game he dropped two passes on the right. Both of them hit him on the hands. I don’t know if he went to the fountain, or got a magic lamp, but the guy has caught everything (this Spring). He is really trying to campaign to get us to throw him a ball one more time (in a game) before he leaves here.”