- Aug 26, 2011
The season's first edition of the AmeriCU Dino Babers Show is set to air at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2, live from Heritage Hill Brewery.
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:
3149 Sweet Rd · 3149 Sweet Rd, Jamesville, NY 13078
You can also listen to the show live each week on the Syracuse IMG Sports Network and Cuse.com. 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: Listen to Free Radio Online | Free Internet Radio | TuneIn
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: https://twitter.com/CuseIMG
#AskDino or through Cuse.com, (the SU Athletic website):
Submit a Question! - Syracuse University Athletics
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)
1st Segment Question
“Coach, In your first game against Clemson, we got blown out 0-54. But in every game since we’ve been in the game at least into the third quarter, three of them going right down to the end and we won one. We’ve also beaten Louisville once, when the Bobby Petrino era was ending and we had our best team of this century. The others have all been blow-outs where we just couldn’t stop them and they took control of the game early. Why are we able to compete more successfully against Clemson than against Louisville?”
2nd Segment Question
“Coach, I brought this up earlier in the season but I’ll ask it again because it’s making less and less sense. From 2018-2020 we had 80 takeaways. Even the 1-10 team of 2020 had 24 of them. I this year’s team had 24 takeaways we’d have been bowl eligible a long time ago. We have highest ranked defense we’ve had in 11 years. We have the same number of sacks, (34 in 10 games) as Georgia and Alabama and 5 defensive backs. Yet we have 6 takeaways, none in the last 4 games. You cited the loss of three defensive backs to the NFL but those three guys had just 3 of our 24 takeaways last year. Our secondary is young but they’ve now played 10 games. Fans have come up with other theories: Sacks prevent passes and so they actually reduce turnovers. Our concentration this year has bene on making clean tackles so we aren’t trying to strip the ball as much. What do you see as you look at the film? Why can’t we take the ball away from the other team?”
(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: “We need to get back to playing Orange football: be physical. I need to hear the game: pads knocking against pads.” Matt asked how long it took to realize that the team was not doing that on Saturday. Dino: “You can tell it very quickly and hope it will change. With young people it can. We did start to play better in the second half.”
Matt described the ceremonies honoring Lamar Jackson. Dino: Malik, (Cunningham), played as if he wanted a statue of his own on the other side of the stadium. He threw the deep post just like Lamar did.” Matt noted that another Louisville quarterback who made good in Baltimore had a statue there. Dino: “You know you’ve seen a lot of football if you’ve seen both of them play. I have. I saw Johnny Unitas when he was playing with the Chargers.” They had a discussion of players who spent the end of their famous career in strange uniforms: Willie Mays with the Mets, Joe Namath with the Rams, Joe Montana with the Chiefs and Jerry Rice with the Raiders. Matt: “Not many leave on top.”
I called in my questions and made the mistake of suggesting that Louisville was “a good program but not on Clemson’s level”. Dino: “Louisville has an excellent program! They have access to amazing athletes. We’ve had to play them three straight times at Louisville and like most teams, we are a better team at home. They’ve had dynamic quarterbacks who can throw deep extremely well and can run to get out of trouble. That’s not Clemson’s style. We’ve got to gear up to play everybody like we play Clemson.” I asked him if a big gap in teams speed was a factor against Louisville, who I described as the fastest team we play each year. Dino again disagreed: “Speed-wise we match up pretty well with them except in our safeties vs. their inside receivers.”
Matt said that #8 for the Cardinals looked pretty impressive. That would be Tyler Harrell, who has 13 catches for a ridiculous 401 yards, (31.3) and 4 TDs. Matt said that he’d once been timed at 4.2 in the 40 yard dash. Dino said that he’s had one guy in his coaching career with that timing and “If you had a guy like that, there’s no one on the other team who is going to catch him”.
Matt noted that Louisville had not run the ball that well in previous games. DB: “When that happens, the defensive linemen are not in the gaps or the safeties are not filling holes or cutting off the angles.”
Matt asked about the practices and made a reference to working out the players so hard that they ‘puke’. Dino: we’re not in the puke business. We’re in the ‘getting their attention’ business.” Matt said that football isn’t like other sports, (I assume he meant baseball), “There isn’t another game on Sunday.” Dino: “That’s why we need to do everything in our power to get a win on Saturday.” this is where he got into a metaphor about cooking potatoes on a stove. “If they get too soft, you have to throw them out and get a pizza.” I think he was talking about abandoning a game plan that wasn’t working. Matt asked what ‘tinkering’ was done during the game. DB: “Not enough. We sat, waited, waited and needed to move on. Our game plans have bene consistently good. But you have to look for the daylight at the end of the tunnel.” Matt inevitably said “It could be an oncoming train”. What bothered me about this discussion is that Coach Babers made it sound as if he was not in charge of the tinkering.
Matt moved on to North Carolina State, who he said had “lots of 2–3-year starters and 5-6 year players. These are ‘defined dudes’.” Dino: “When you are older in the defensive and offensive lines and have an established quarterback, it’s time to rock and roll!” Matt noted that they have two fine running backs, Zonovan ‘Bam’ Knight and Ricky Person, (combined: 235 carries for 1,170 yards, 7TDs). Dino: “They are very unselfish. They have good wide receivers and a great quarterback and an offensive lineman who will be a top 5 draft pick and play in the NFL forever.” That would be Ikem Ekwonu:
NC State's Ikem Ekwonu, a year out from NFL Draft eligibility, is quietly 'the most feared offensive lineman in the ACC'.
DB: “We have to get into the fourth quarter get a chance to beat them.”
[How about we jump right on them and show them who’s boss?] Matt said that NC State, like Syracuse had been in a lot of close games. But he noted that he’d also said that about Louisville last week. DB: “We know them and they know us.” Matt wondered if that’s a good thing or not. Dino: “It depends on how good they are.”
Matt asked about the departure of Geoff Cantin-Arku, pointing out that we’ve essentially bene playing 4 linebackers and now we’re down to 3. What if somebody gets an ‘owie’ or gets called for targeting again? Dino skipped that question and said that he’d had a two hour conversation with Geoff but he “decided to continue going down the path that he started.” Should they change the rules on the transfer portal? DB: “I can’t comment.” Then he launched into another metaphor, about family friends that he insists his kids call “Uncle” even if they weren’t related. “They become brothers even if they aren’t blood brothers. It’s difficult to see family members leave, especially without degrees. Someday they’ll understand what a Syracuse degree means.”
They took questions from the restaurant. Jace wondered Dino felt his “biggest advantage” was. Dino feels its his team’s resiliency. “Minus the Covid year, we’ve always responded well. Our juniors and seniors have a lot of pride and I think we’ll play well.” It’s 12 one-week seasons. You need to play every opponent. We’ve had a break-out game every year.” They talked about Kansas’ upset win over Texas, their first win in that series since 1956. Dino noted that the winning two point conversion was caught by a walk-on.
James asked if Dino was in favor of self-driving cars. “No. I don’t even like those cars that parallel park themselves. If you can’t parallel park, you shouldn’t be driving.”
Channing, (?) asked for Dino’s favorite pizza place. He declined to say. What is favorite type of pizza. “All of them: pepperoni, Canadian bacon, green peppers”. Matt apparently made a face and Dino said “Yes, green peppers! I like meat – Italian sausage. My son-in-law insists there should be no fruit involved. That’s a very New York attitude. But I’m from Hawaii and I like pineapple on my pizza!”
Dominick called from the Carolinas to relate a story from the 2016 Clemson game. We’d gotten blown out 0-54 and the Clemson fans were storming the field. His son climbed onto the field, went up to an SU lineman and said he was a Syracuse fan. The big lineman, who must have let really bad with the result of the game, thanked the child for coming to see them paly. Dominick felt that sort of behavior was a reflection of the coach. Dino thanked him and said “Everybody wants to win- me moreso than others. But it’s not the main thing. I want to create better husbands and fathers.” Dino asked how the youngster was doing these days. He’s 17 and has been accepted at Charleston Southern with their second highest academic scholarship. Matt wondered why more schools don’t allow the fans on the field after the game. Dino said that might have to sign a waiver that they won’t damage the turf.
Ed in Atlanta said he was an ‘outsider’, an old Big East fan who relocated to the south and was now an SEC fan but who has followed Syracuse this season, even to the point of watching all of Dino’s process conferences. He said that there are many people not even associated with Syracuse that admire Dino as a “great coach who runs an exemplary program”. Dino thanks him and said “I got into this business for the young men. I have four daughters but no sons and the players are like my step-sons. That’s why I was never interested in the NFL, the way people like Urban Meyer and Matt Rhule were.” Ed advised Dino to recruit more “big guys with muscles”. Dino: “I like your thinking. “
They brought on strength and conditioning coach Sean Edinger, of whom Dino said “He’s a military brat, which is where he got the military language.” Matt said Sean had bene all over the world and could swear in many languages. Edinger said that “The guys want to prove themselves after Louisville. They are eager to prove that that’s not them. We’ve bene close all year.” He said “I deal with every guy on the team, from the walk-ons to the scholarship players, from freshmen to super seniors.” He revealed the substance of Sean Tucker’s conversation with Dino at the end of the game: “he wanted to win that game with a little punch”. Well, he did get in some jabs.
After a musical interlude from TK99, Gomez came on for the second segment. He advised Dino of tonight’s lunar eclipse and promised to text him to wake him up to see it. Dino said that that noise his phone makes isn’t enough to wake him up. Did he see the full moon on the drive up the hill to the restaurant? “No. I was reading to my wife. She made me read an E-mail from her sister to her.” I guess we can see who does the parallel parking in Dino’s family.
It's a day after the 65th anniversary on Jim Brown scoring 6TDs and kicking 7 extra points for a then record 43 points against Colgate. Dino: “I’ve heard about that game”. Gomez said that until he read that, he didn’t realize that Jim Brown kicked the ball. It’s also the anniversary of the “Heidi” game where NBC switch from a game where Joe Namath’s eventual champion Jets were leading the Raiders 32-29 with two minutes left and NBC switched to a showing of the movie “Heidi”
Dino remembers that, saying that he “a mad 7 year old. Believe me the first five minutes of Heidi wasn’t better than the last two minutes of that game” Gomez asked Dino where he kept the ball he mentioned last week that was signed by Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Lou Groza. Dino refused to say but once again pronounced ‘Groza’ as “Goza”.
Gomez asked hm “Do your players bounce back quickly or do they hang onto a game like the Louisville game?” DB: “It depends on how much you were invested into the game.” [Then they should get over it quickly because they sure weren’t invested in that game.] What was practice like? “It was a philosophy change. Everybody needs to fall in line.” How did it go? “I saw some good, straight lines.”
How often do players come up and have a conversation with the coach during games? Dino said it happens all the time with quarterbacks or the defensive captains. But it had never happened with Sean Tucker. “There was some Hoosiers to it”. [Obligatory movie reference.] Watching the tape of the game, Dino’s reaction was “We were not physical enough. It was flag football.” Did the bye week, during which there was no physical contact in practice, lead to the weak performance? Dino thought so. Will it happen again? “I hope not.”
There was a discussion of spam, which is very popular in Hawaii. Gomez likes it, too, especially the gummy stuff at the top of the can. Dino likes the cans it comes in: he likes to remove the metal rod, stick it in the aluminum top and twist it to roll up the top.
I called in for my second questions but first I informed the Coach that it was ‘Lou Groza’ with an ‘R‘. he thanked me for the correction. I also told them that I had researched Jim Brown’s life and that he had started out as a kicker: in four freshman games in 1953, he had never scored a touchdown but kicked all the extra points. Then somebody got the bright idea of allowing him to run with the ball. Dino and Gomez were suitably amazed – at both the fact that Jim brown had started as a kicker and that somebody had looked up what happened with SU’s freshman team in 1953.
Dino’s answer to my second question was much more detailed than the last one. “it ahs to do with whether the eyes of the secondary are on the ball. If we have 1 high safety or 2 high safeties, then someone will be looking for that tipped pass. We play both but we also play 0 high with everybody committed to the run and also to putting pressure on the backfield. When you do that the sack has to happen. Unless the ball is thrown right to the defensive back, there will be no one there to get the tipped ball. A lot of those takeaways were under the previous coordinator. This one is different. As to stripping, we try to do that in any defense. We want everybody to come to the house party. We expect the first guy to make the tackle and the second guy to go for the ball. We’ve forced some fumbles but the other team keeps falling on them.” Gomez said that it takes talent to hold onto the ball with all the guys trying to pry it away. Dino: “It takes concentration.” I suggested that to beat these two Top 25 teams we’ve got left on our schedule, we’re going to need some of those takeovers. Trying to win without them is heavy lifting. Dino: “I agree in full with your last statement.”
Gomez said “Jack from Baltimore” was on the line. It was John from Baltimore. [Note to John: If you could talk a little more slowly, it would be easier to follow what you were saying.] John wanted to know if there had been any scuttlebutt on changes in the transfer portal and if the success of our second half defense was in part because we were letting the play clock run down and running the ball to control the game lock. Dino: “We were checking into the right play. We continued to run the ball because we didn’t want to take our best weapon out of the game. We want to get the play in more quickly to get the plays off….I don’t think the transfer portal will change. It’s their decision. Our job is to wish them the best when they leave. I would like the coaches to address closing the portal during the season. I wish we could finish what we start.”
Dino likes NC State coach Dave Doeren. “We’re both old school coaches. Our personalities are close. We could spend an hour together and talk for only 15 minutes. You might think we don’t like each other but we’d both say that we had a great time. We don’t’ say anything except what needs to be said.” Like movies, fake uncles, pizza and potatoes cooking on the stove.