Babers, Syracuse face stark reality / David Hale (ESPN) | Syracusefan.com

Babers, Syracuse face stark reality / David Hale (ESPN)

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Babers, Syracuse face stark reality

Syracuse parted ways with coach Dino Babers on Sunday after the Orange fell to Georgia Tech 31-22. Babers ends his eight-year tenure with the Orange with an ACC record of 20-45 (41-55 overall) and just two bowl bids. Given those numbers, the decision is hardly a surprise.

But dig a little deeper into the situation at Syracuse, and Babers' dismissal signals a larger set of problems -- problems that echo the uphill battle so many low-end Power 5 teams will face moving forward in the new era of college football.

Babers was 12-12 in the past two seasons, which is actually better than Miami's Mario Cristobal or Iowa State's Matt Campbell, and the same as Houston's Dana Holgorsen and Pitt's Pat Narduzzi since the start of 2022.

But the fan base had soured on Babers after Syracuse wasted back-to-back strong starts -- 6-0 in 2022, 4-0 this year -- and athletic director John Wildhack opted for a change.

But look at the cards Babers was dealt: The loss to Georgia Tech came with a converted tight end playing quarterback for the second straight week. It came in a season in which Babers replaced both coordinators after the incumbents left in lateral moves. Babers recruited well enough to have two players from last year's team drafted and another make an NFL roster. Indeed, four others left for different Power 5 programs -- the portal offering access to better NIL opportunities at bigger schools.
Six weeks ago, Babers was asked about Syracuse's depth amid rising injury attrition, and he offered a blunt answer.

"It's the same old thing: Depth is gone," Babers said. "Our depth is in the transfer portal. You know how many guys we lost. You know what schools they play at. Schools like us, we're not going to have a lot of depth because it gets bought away." More than a few Syracuse fans and critics suggested this was an easy excuse for another downward spiral, but Babers wasn't wrong. This is life on the fringes of big-time college football today. Winning at a place like Syracuse has been hard for a long time, but Babers proved in 2018 that, with the right QB and a handful of diamonds in the rough, it was possible. He led Syracuse to a 10-win season and a No. 15 ranking in the final AP poll -- two things that hadn't happened in Central New York in 17 years.

But then COVID hit (and hit Syracuse harder than almost any team in the country), the portal opened, NIL became the law of the land and, yes, a hefty fraction of Babers' best talent walked out the door.

That's not to say Babers didn't make mistakes. Witness Syracuse's second-half collapse against Clemson last year or the woeful performance against Virginia Tech last month coming off an open date. There's simply no room for error when the margins are so thin.

Perhaps the next coach will win more than 12 games in two years. It's certainly possible. But the problems at Syracuse run deep, and some of them simply can't be addressed by hiring a new coach or funneling more money into the football program. -- David M. Hale
 
One thing about losing depth to the portal -

It wasn’t defensive depth that hurt us this year. It was depth on offense.

We lost Carter, Duce, Steve and JT.

We didn’t lose anyone of note, aside I guess Lamson, on O.

I don’t give Babers an inch for that excuse.
 
I mean, he's not wrong. My only issue with the argument Hale (and many others) have made is that the majority of uphill battles Babers faced yearly were of his own making and were entirely preventable.
Again, hes a great guy, a great leader of young men but unfortunately not a great football coach. Thankfully he can still use the first two attributes to continue to make a positive difference.
 
Babers, Syracuse face stark reality

Syracuse parted ways with coach Dino Babers on Sunday after the Orange fell to Georgia Tech 31-22. Babers ends his eight-year tenure with the Orange with an ACC record of 20-45 (41-55 overall) and just two bowl bids. Given those numbers, the decision is hardly a surprise.

But dig a little deeper into the situation at Syracuse, and Babers' dismissal signals a larger set of problems -- problems that echo the uphill battle so many low-end Power 5 teams will face moving forward in the new era of college football.

Babers was 12-12 in the past two seasons, which is actually better than Miami's Mario Cristobal or Iowa State's Matt Campbell, and the same as Houston's Dana Holgorsen and Pitt's Pat Narduzzi since the start of 2022.

But the fan base had soured on Babers after Syracuse wasted back-to-back strong starts -- 6-0 in 2022, 4-0 this year -- and athletic director John Wildhack opted for a change.

But look at the cards Babers was dealt: The loss to Georgia Tech came with a converted tight end playing quarterback for the second straight week. It came in a season in which Babers replaced both coordinators after the incumbents left in lateral moves. Babers recruited well enough to have two players from last year's team drafted and another make an NFL roster. Indeed, four others left for different Power 5 programs -- the portal offering access to better NIL opportunities at bigger schools.
Six weeks ago, Babers was asked about Syracuse's depth amid rising injury attrition, and he offered a blunt answer.

"It's the same old thing: Depth is gone," Babers said. "Our depth is in the transfer portal. You know how many guys we lost. You know what schools they play at. Schools like us, we're not going to have a lot of depth because it gets bought away." More than a few Syracuse fans and critics suggested this was an easy excuse for another downward spiral, but Babers wasn't wrong. This is life on the fringes of big-time college football today. Winning at a place like Syracuse has been hard for a long time, but Babers proved in 2018 that, with the right QB and a handful of diamonds in the rough, it was possible. He led Syracuse to a 10-win season and a No. 15 ranking in the final AP poll -- two things that hadn't happened in Central New York in 17 years.

But then COVID hit (and hit Syracuse harder than almost any team in the country), the portal opened, NIL became the law of the land and, yes, a hefty fraction of Babers' best talent walked out the door.

That's not to say Babers didn't make mistakes. Witness Syracuse's second-half collapse against Clemson last year or the woeful performance against Virginia Tech last month coming off an open date. There's simply no room for error when the margins are so thin.

Perhaps the next coach will win more than 12 games in two years. It's certainly possible. But the problems at Syracuse run deep, and some of them simply can't be addressed by hiring a new coach or funneling more money into the football program. -- David M. Hale
it's all logical deductions. coaching to me can be illogical in terms of how you view it and how you fix it. We can't be stuck in the excuse machine forever.

Syracuse if left to its own devices will not make its own luck or success. There are tons of things institutionally that work against it. We need to find a coach who has his own institutional advantages to offset it. Dino clearly didn't anymore. That's fine. The next guy may not either. Gotta keep working at fixing it though and not just give up and say "well 500 is our best"
 
The national media definitely seems to be in disagreement with the firing of Dino
 
Great job, Dave, of picking pieces of information that support a point-of-view and ignoring other parts of the story.

Those #narratives ain't gonna write themselves!! :rolleyes:

We lost a handful of guys on D to the portal.
Our D was NOT the problem this year.

When you have a supposedly O guru HC, and a QB whisperer OC, you really should be able to field a backup QB who can throw a forward pass semi-reliably.
MANY other peer programs have managed to do so.

The lack of talented backups is directly on the HC, and OC.
They're recruiting "their guys", and coaching them up. Or not.

We're putting $ into the program via facilities, Dome upgrades, higher/competitive salaries for coaches, and a good-enough NIL program.

Syracuse is not Little Sisters of the Poor.
We can't support our program like Clemson & FSU, but we should at least be able to match peers like Wake, BC, Pitt, etc.
 
I think it’s safe to say that SU will find itself in this same situation in about six years. Donovan McNabb and Dwight Freeney aren’t walking through that door again.
If they do, they'll transfer out to a Blue blood.
 
Lots of teams are in the same situation as us with multiple injuries at key positions. The big difference is we don’t have a plan b despite this being the case every year.

And for many of us it mattered greatly that in game decision making seemed to get worse progressively since the beginning. I would say those are the two central reasons for Dinos departure. Fix those and Dino is still here and doing fine.
 
One thing about losing depth to the portal -

It wasn’t defensive depth that hurt us this year. It was depth on offense.

We lost Carter, Duce, Steve and JT.

We didn’t lose anyone of note, aside I guess Lamson, on O.

I don’t give Babers an inch for that excuse.

Well, Jawahr Jordan had a heck of a year for Louisville.
 
I thought it was a pretty lazy article to be honest, basically a retread of his article a few weeks ago. Clearly the perception of the program is garbage and we should be happy with 6-6 or even 5-7. I don’t disagree with him on a lot of things however he could have done better here.
 
Maybe seeing some of our guys not do well at the big school will work in our favor in the future.
Hopefully, but I think that's wishful thinking. Have you talked to the average 18 to 22-year-old. Heck, I cringe at some of the decisions I made at that age.
 
I love when folks selectively nit pick statistics. They cherry picked the last two seasons. Why not any of the previous 6 before those? How about looking at the records of the teams we beat these past two years? I bet its not pretty.

Depth, cmon man. We lose kids in the portal, we get kids in the portal. Hell our starting QB was a portal kid. Our backup, also portal. You cant have it both ways.

Frankly, Syracuse is probably a hard job for all of the reasons i wont regurgitate, but its not like we fired the guy after 3 seasons. He was here 8 YEARS!!!! He got every benifit of the doubt. Its time to move on.
 
The national media definitely seems to be in disagreement with the firing of Dino
The national media thinks we should just be happy with 4-6 wins a year and never push for more.

It's also funny, I think Hale wrote a few weeks ago that we were too poor to fire Babers now.

The portal gives just as much as it takes. For every Duce Chestnut there's a kid buried on the depth chart at a factory school who cares more about playing time than NIL.
 

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