The Dino Babers Show- before Connecticut |

The Dino Babers Show- before Connecticut


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011

Coach Babers’s show this year show will be Thursday nights at 7PM except when the game is not on a Saturday. This year it will be 90 minutes, with the first hour being with Dino and the last half hour being with a ‘special guest’, who in the past just got a couple minutes at the end of the show.

The show originates from Heritage Hill Brewery in Jamesville:

You can also listen to the show live each week on the Syracuse IMG Sports Network and Wednesday's show will be on 99.1 FM and 97.7 FM, as well. The show will regularly air on 99.5FM (Syracuse) 99.1 FM (Utica) and 1200 AM.”
You can also get it on:

There hasn’t been any change in the phone numbers, which last year were 315-424-8599 (local) or 1-888-746-2873. You can call to ask questions or submit them via Twitter at:
#AskDino or through, (the SU Athletic website):

You can (or could last year, anyway), listen to a podcast of the show, probably the next day, at: Search results for babers | Free Internet Radio | TuneIn

My Question(s) or Comments (or theories)

I found a picture of Coach Smith smiling and sent it to Dino, who said he would send it to his widow:


He’d just been appointed the head coach at Army.

“Coach, a lot of SU fans of a certain age are thinking about our 1987 team after the big win over Louisville. We hadn’t been nationally relevant for 20 years and were coming off a 5-6 season. We opened by beating Maryland, who had beaten us 9 times in the last 11 games with a tie and we dominated them to win 25-11 and then went on to an undefeated season. That team’s motto was “one down, one to go, (then 2 down, 1 to go), so they were always focused on the next game and they wanted to beat Colgate as much as they wanted to beat Penn State. And the fans started coming out, not to see the team we were playing but to root for and enjoy their own team. Hopefully something similar is happening this year.”

“Coach, you said in your Monday press conference something I’ve heard many times before: that teams tend to improve the most from the first game of the season to the second. In 2016, in the second game we lost to Louisville by 34 points. In 2017 we lost to Middle Tennessee State. In 2018 we blew out Wagner by 52. In 2019 it was the 43 point loss to Maryland. In 2020 we lost by 11 to Pittsburgh on the road. In 2021 came the 6 point loss to Rutgers. Even considering differences in level of competition from game 1 to 2, that doesn’t reveal a lot of improvement. Is the cliché still true?”


The Show
(I sometimes re-arrange the comments so that statements made on the same subject are reported together, even if they came at different points of the show.)

Dino: “It was fun to see the young men come out of the shute against a high-quality opponent with a performance like that. The JMA was rocking. I hope we can keep it going for similar upcoming games.”

They talked about Connecticut. Matt summarized their dismal record under various coaches in recent years but said that Jim Mora may be the ‘antedote’. “they’re calling it ‘The Huskie Revolution’”. Coach noted how well they played at Utah State. “They aren’t talked about much but they’ve won a lot of games.” (At times: Utah State Historical Scores ) “that game was played at altitude and you’re playing Mormons so a lot of those players are 2 years older”, (due to Mormon missions). They agreed that the Aggies result vs. Alabama was not relevant to normal college football.
Utah State vs. Alabama - Game Summary - September 3, 2022 - ESPN
Dino said that the Huskies have “one of the top running backs in the country”. In fact, Nathan Carter is second in the country in rushing yards:
2022 Football Player Rushing Stats | ESPN

I called, as I usually do, during the first break and, as been usual this year, technical problems prevented me from getting on. I could hear the Coach and Matt but they couldn’t hear me. The producer asked me to “call back in a couple of minutes”, explaining they had a ‘ramming issue’, whatever that is. This broke up my attempt to record what was said. Coach was saying that getting a score off the opening kickoff was a encouraging, even if we settled for a field goal. I also heard him describe the offense as a ‘nice blend’. “When you put enough hits on somebody, it’s going to have an effect”.

“We’d have taken a 1 point or overtime win but the way we did it means so much more. We were playing a team that could finish 3rd or 4th in the conference. I remember my first game as a head coach at Eastern Illinois. We’d been a last place team and were playing a one of these teams that were the conference favorites. We beat them and in the next day’s paper, their coach was quoted as saying the only good thing about the loss is that it was to a team that won’t win the conference. Well, we won the conference! I’ve never forgotten that.” (That would be this guy: Dale Lennon - Wikipedia )
“I’ve been in Coach Mora’s position, [as an underdog], and won.”

I finally got connected and described the Coach Smith picture and made the comparison to the 1987 team and then asked my question. Coach did deal with the issue of being 1-5 in second games, saying that he was talking about ‘growth’, [even if the scoreboard was shrinking]. “Young people can see themselves on tape. It’s not just the coaches or their ‘brothers’ on the team talking to them. It’s after a test of will against another team. It forces you to deal with the truth. It gets more guys to come along with you with everybody pulling in the same direction.” I told the coach that I hoped to see more growth this week and in the future.

Matt asked about the “nuts and bolts operation of the team in the first game – how well did we get plays and personnel in, how well did we get into the right formation, etc.” It was a round-about way to ask about penalties. “We had two delay of game penalties. Some guys were supposed to be on the line of scrimmage in an unbalanced line, [Ben Schwartzwalder’s ears perk up] and weren’t. it was stomach-turning but correctable”. He didn’t mention anything about nefarious things the other team was doing to us offside, although matt probed for it by blaming it on “the snap count, the cadence and defensive interference”. Matt looked up some information on team that have been called 18 penalties. Amazingly, they have a record of 20 wins and 11 losses, so SU winning despite that was not unusual at all. (But they were errors of o-mission rather than co-mmission!) SU’s win was the largest margin of victory in those games in a game against a Power 5 team.

Matt asked the coach what he said to the players about the penalties. DB: “That’s not for radio. We used some Jedi mind tricks and I think they’ll be better.”

Matt back-tracked and said what he meant was what was the timing and venue for such a discussion- “Saturday in the locker room, Sunday in the film room, Monday in your office”, etc. DB: “the best way is up close and personal. The red tabletop and you can smell each other’s mouthwash.”

Jeff in Syracuse called in to ask if the 44 jersey is “on the table”. Dino said it was all over the place, including above several tables at the restaurant. But “Sean Tucker wants to make #34 the next #44 and maybe that number will be hanging next to 44 in the rafters.”

Matt asked about Chris Elmore and Stefon Thompson. “Both are in good spirits but extremely disappointed. [Is that possible?] I hope they can get better and also come back. I’m keeping a finger crossed on Chris’ eligibility. For Stef, a lot of NFL players have come back from ACLs. The operations are so efficient these days….I tell the next man up players that if you do the right thing under the right coaches and with the right Esprit de Corps you’re going to have a chance to play good football….Mismatches become apparent to opposing coaches.” He mentioned how Steve Linton had bene injured in pre-season practice and they are “slowly bringing him back”.

Mary n NYC wondered what Dino Babers’ own recruitment “looked like” and how players what have come from long distances like Max Mang and Kalan Ellis have adjusted to Syracuse. Coach said they have adjusted well. “Kalan is from Hawaii so he understands ‘Ohana’. His bother is here with him. Austyn (Kauhi) is here. Coach Anae is from there and I have roots there. The 50th state has a quite a representation here…As to my own recruitment, my Dad was military so I had a wide range. There was the naval Academy. I had academic scholarship offers to Cornell and Columbia and an athletic scholarship from Washington. But I wanted to play in Hawaii and I wouldn’t change it for the world. the people I got to know there were prettier than the state.”

Johnathan in Baltimore wanted to know why the staters were left in late in a 31-7 game. Me mentioned Sean Tucker, Garrett Shrader, the offensive line and Mikel Jones. Dino: “Mikel was not in there. Sean Tucker has a Heisman campaign and we wanted to get him to the century mark. If he’s going to be in there, our #1 line is going to be in there to protect him and Garrett is going to be in there to make sure they can’t just focus on Sean.”

Offensive coordinator Robert Anae was then interviewed. “When I got here, I was impressed by the collective buy-in by the players. There’s usually a disconnect when I show up. It was refreshing to see how they ‘owned’ the process. At other schools, it was like pulling teeth. It unfolded like we were hoping it would. We started fast. A 4-yard pass goes for 55. That was rather good. Penalties need to be addressed. I think it was first game jitters and crowd noise. It got to some of our guys.” Matt reminded the fans to make noise when the other team has the ball but not when our guys have it and the show came to an end.
Thanks for the write up.

Sounds like Anae got 44 seconds to speak. They should have Dino on for 45 minutes and the special guest on for 15 minutes.

They kind of do but there's a lot of commercials in those last 15 minutes.
Strongly disagree with leaving all the starters in to try to help Tucker's Heisman campaign. Imagine if Tucker, Shrader, or Bergeron get hurt on that last drive with us up by 4 scores. Same thing with the last drive that our Defense was on the field. Keep our starters healthy and get our backups a little experience.
Strongly disagree with leaving all the starters in to try to help Tucker's Heisman campaign. Imagine if Tucker, Shrader, or Bergeron get hurt on that last drive with us up by 4 scores. Same thing with the last drive that our Defense was on the field. Keep our starters healthy and get our backups a little experience.
Yeah, it was reckless, like leaving Ted Gregory in in the game against Colgate.
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Interesting note on Ellis' brother.

SWC, I always give you a like for these but that's far too little. Thank you for such excellent writeups.

What's far too little? That's all he said.
I don’t like leaving those guys in that late in the game but I can understand his rationale, you don’t want the back up line blocking for Tucker I get that …but Wilson could be handing off he’s probably more of a threat to run than Schrader anyways.
I don’t like leaving those guys in that late in the game but I can understand his rationale, you don’t want the back up line blocking for Tucker I get that …but Wilson could be handing off he’s probably more of a threat to run than Schrader anyways.
At least he was honest about it and didn’t say some nonsense like “…first game… need the reps.” I respect that.
Nobody asked coach how he intends to defend against UConn’s new RV lot?

It’s like Crane style - when do right, can no defend.

We should just forfeit right now.
How can we possibly compete against an RV lot??
Bad idea leaving those starters in, especially when he had a pretty good idea already that Rhino and Stef had likely serious injuries, that should have been a wake up call to not do it. Don’t do that again coach, as great as Sean is, his Heisman chances are slim. One of those three QBs at Bama, Georgia or OSU will grab it.
Well, I'm not sure if Dino intended to, but it certainly appears that Thompson's "lower body injury" is a torn ACL based upon his mention of NFL players making full recoveries from these operations/injuries nowadays.

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