The Dino Babers Show - before North Carolina |

The Dino Babers Show - before North Carolina


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 60 minutes, with the first 50 minutes being with Dino and the last 10 minutes 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 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: (Update: this account seems to have closed.)
#AskDino or through, (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)

Coach, I have two questions one from me and one from a fellow poster.

Could you compare the performance of your receivers to that of Clemson’s in Saturday’s game in terms of running routes and coming back to give a scrambling quarterback potential targets?

My fellow poster looked up our ranking in terms of avoiding penalties since you’ve been here:
2016: 124 (out of 128) 2017: 84 (out of 130) 2018: 111 (out of 130) 2019: 129 (out of 130)
2020: 103 (out of 128) 2021: 71 (out of 130) 2022: 131 (out of 131) 2023: 117 (out of 130)

That’s an average of 109th in the country and we’ve never been in the top 50%. Why can’t we avoid penalties?

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 on North Carolina: “Coach Brown has those guys going. They are excited, fresh and ranked. They will be excited and ready to go.“ Matt suggested that’s exactly where we were last week. DB: “I was surprised at how many good plays didn’t play well. The guys who do a consistently fabulous job are you best players. It’s extremely unusual to have a whole group of them not play well.” [I thought we were trying to be consistently good, not occasionally great. Now we’re supposed to be consistently fabulous?]

I called in and asked my two questions and got two very good answers.

Q1 “It’s hard to compare systems. There are certain routes you run in different systems, including different scramble routes. You might remember a previous game where Donovan Brown had a long touchdown. It’s not just about what the receivers do – it’s about what the quarterback is going to do. Our quarterback can run the ball. Having the receivers work back toward the quarterback can close off his running lanes.

Q2 “ We don’t want any penalties. Sometimes your opponent determines it. Against Army we had 6 penalties – and we had only one. The least penalized teams have certain styles and most AD’s don’t want. Check the top offenses and see where they rank in terms of penalties. We are very aggressive. When you are trying to be aggressive on both sides of the ball and play up-tempo and a lot of man-to-man, you are going to commit more penalties. Matt Park said that a national commentator had said that the most complete team in the country was Washington, who is high in penalties.
[The top five teams in total yards this year are Washington, #122 in penalties, Oregon #101, USC #120, LSU #18 and UCF #92. LSU, the outlier, is 3-2, as UCF is. The others are undefeated.]

The penalties that upset me are the pre-snap penalties. Theya re the hardest to digest. You don’t want to take away the aggressiveness of players. Penalties are not the most important of stats. Big plays and turnovers over can cover up penalties.” [He must have used plenty of Pepto-Bismol over the last 8 years.] I pressed him on things like the Marlowe Wax bumping of the quarterback. “He should have done that but they shouldn’t have called that. The refs know when they are on national TV. The quarterback fell out the back door. I remember when Airon Servais went over to tell Chubb of NC State to ‘get off of Dungey’ and Bradley Chubb flopped and got a call on Airon. The ACC refs tend to throw the most flags of the any conference.” Matt agreed that Marlowe’s action “looked worse than it was. Woofing doesn’t warrant a penalty unless there’s a real good reason. Sometimes it crosses the line. The Virginia NC State game d a wild finish as someone got called for ‘posing’.” [Actually taking his helmet off: ]

They briefly discussed the death of Dick Butkus. Dino remembers Dick “showing off vs. the NFL champions in the college all-star game. Hmm… [Dino was born 7/19/61. Dick’s rookie year in the NFL was 1965.]

On Tez Walker becoming eligible for UNC: “I called it in a family chat in August. He would be declared eligible for our game. He’s been taking classes and practicing with them. Based on what he was clocked in a game against Georgia, he’ll be faster than anyone on our team. And he’s got a quarterback who can get the ball to him.”

Dom in North Carolina wondered if it’s better for a team to use its strength, (what it does best) or use its weaknesses, (what they are not good at), in an effort to exploit the weakness of the other team. Dino said that it depended on the personality of the coordinator. He cited the various offensive coordinators he’d worked under but settled on something Coach Homer Smith said: “Every good offense has a tendency. The other team knows it but you do it anyway. You don’t break it for just anybody. You break it for somebody exceptional. And that’s all I’m going to say to someone from North Carolina.” [With a laugh.] Matt noted that Dan Villari had been ‘saved’ for the Clemson game, along with some ‘special plays’, (Dino refuses to call them trick plays). “We got a 15 yard penalty on one and a drop on the other. Oronde went down and we had to put our next best, most explosive player on the field. Dan only became available in September. We think we need to get the ball to him but it’s not because of the position he plays.”

They brought on wide receivers coach Michael Johnson. No, not this guy:
Michael Johnson Breaks 200m & 400m Olympic Records - Atlanta 1996 Olympics
He cited his experience in various offenses, from “the pistol to the west coast, the zone running game and gap schemes. We played well early in the season but our opponents then were not the caliber of our opponents now. We need to pick up our play. It’s a big jump. These teams have defensive backs are 6-2 190 and can run. The speed of the game was faster and more aggressive.” He was asked about the impact of the injuries to Gadsden, Pena and Jones. “That’s why you coach from the bottom up. OG has a great football IQ. Pena is a match-up problem. Jones is flexible – he can play many positions. [I’ll bet he wishes he was more flexible at the moment.] Hatcher has played well at times. So has Gil. We have to build their confidence.”

Matt asked about drops. What’s the remedy? Matt noted that they never drop the ball on the practice field, even though the jugs machine is “at the John Elway level”. MJ: “You correct it through drills, using contested situations in practice.” He said most of the drops have been on “shots”, (long passes downfield). “Shrader could have had a huge game against Purdue.” On the subject of catching balls out of bounds. Johnson calls those “pizza balls”. He recalls that when he worked under Dan Reeves, Reevs drew a red line on the field to indicate where the routes should be run. “We have to save space.”
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