- Aug 26, 2011
The AmeriCU Dino Babers Show at Heritage Hill returns tonight!
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:
Heritage Hill Brewhouse in Pompey. Handcrafted Beer, Homemade Food & Amazing Views set upon our active crop and animal farm. A family friendly destination that's an escape but close enough to call home.
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: https://tunein.com/radio/home/
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 (Update: this account seems to have closed.)
#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)
Coach, it seemed we’d made a breakthrough when we went 10-3 in 2018. Then we had three straight losing records. I think last year’s team was similar to the 2018 team and would have had a similar season, (the Clemson game was virtually a replay of the 2018 game), but injuries prevented it.
What prevented us from building on the success of 2018 and how much different is our situation now?
(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.)
Matt noted that the Bruce Springsteen concert had been postponed. “If you were asked to stand in for him, doing karaoke, what song would you pick? DB: “Born in the USA” [That could work.]
Matt said that, unlike the concert, the opening game “went as scripted”. DB: There were only 5 shut-outs in the country. I was pleased we got that many explosive plays. We played really hard.” What do you focus on after a game like that. “We put the lights on – a high beam – on the negative plays but we reinforce the positive ones.”
Matt asked him about the Western Michigan Broncos. “Coach (Lance) Taylor brought over some Louisville guys but retained a lot of last year’s staff. Their DC, (Lou Esposito) has seen us several times. We had to watch both Western Michigan and Louisville tapes from last year. I’ve never seen a team so ready as our team was for Louisville last year. Their running game solidified – they ran the ball 67 times. That allowed their offensive line to be physical. We’ve got to stop the run and match-up with their receivers. We didn’t get as many looks at their receivers as they got at ours.” [That’s the disadvantage of throwing 7 touchdown passes.]
Matt noted that we upped the tempo vs. Colgate more than we had in a long time. “You have a green light, a yellow light and a red light. With a player like Sean Tucker, we slowed it down to make sure it was right because Sean to take what’s right and make it really right.” I don’t recall Dino talking about yellow and red lights when he came here. Balmes Nick Saban. “There were some rule changes. Nobody can go as fast as teams did in 2008-2017. Nick Saban wanted a rule that if the offense substituted the defense should be given time to do so as well. The mechanics of setting the ball and the chains have changed and they put in a 7th official, one to be in charge of controlling these things.”
The phone set-up didn’t seem to be working, (I kept getting rings, but nobody was answering), probably due to the storm. Matt brought on Rocky Long 20 minutes into the show and talked to him for another 20 minutes. But that’s OK. Of all the assistants, he’s the one we want to hear talk about the game the most. Dino stayed on and talked with Rocky about the one game Dino’s mother has seen in person, Eastern Illinois’s upset 40-19 win over San Diego State to open the 2013 season. Dino said, “we were lucky”. Rocky denied it. Dino: “We were punching above our weight”. EIU is FCS, SDS, FBS. “It was a perfect storm – a Santa Anna wind. They ran a reverse and scored on the first play. I remember thinking ‘We can’t stop that play’. I hope they don’t run it again.’ They didn’t. We out-ran them in the second half.” Rocky said that “you worry about the game for one day. You don’t forget it, but you don’t dwell on it.”
Why did he decide to go back to being a defensive coordinator after having been a head coach. “You get tired of all the things that take you away from coaching. I wanted to get back to it.” Dino recalled that when he was on Dick Tomey’s staff they would play Rocky Long’s teams and “everyone would be confused. They didn’t know what was going on out there. Since then, I’ve always followed his career.” Rocky said “I’m going to play defenses that give offenses the hardest time.” He should know about that because he was a quarterback at New Mexico from 1969-71.
“The hardest position to recruit for is the defensive line. I decided to get more linebacker types and have them run. Don’t make them stand there and take on 350 pound offensive linemen. They are faster and quicker. Let them come in from different angles.” Dino: “We’ve had trouble recruiting big guys . Now in the NIL era, we can go that way if we want to. But I like shopping at the dollar store.” RL: Against Colgate “We were fast and aggressive. There was a lull in the second period.” [I didn’t notice it – did you?]. But they picked it up in the second period. “This might be my first shut out. Everybody scores these days.”
“Western Michigan runs the ball. They will be bigger and stronger and try to run over our little guys. We will have to be physical at the point of attack. We got to play a lot of guys. The starters played only 36 plays…These guys have played the same defense for three years. I might have a different philosophy on how to take on certain blocks. A majority of the players have accepted me and bought into our system. I have to make sure and not reach back into the rolodex and make sure they know thew whole system. They can’t do it if they don’t know what I want them to do. Sometimes you connect with certain players but not with others.”
Dino said that Rocky reminds him of Jim Boeheim or my father. He’s an encyclopedia but he’s not a big small talk guy.
Matt read some questions “from Heritage Hill customers”, all of whom seem to have an intimate connection to the team. An offensive lineman from Hanover township (Initials CB) asked who his favorite offensive player was. Coach at first said “Anyone who plays for me in a game we won by at least 50 points”. But he amended that to “anyone who doesn’t commit two false starts in the same game”.
Who influenced hm to become coach? “My dad was an officer on the USS Enterprise, the first nuclear aircraft carrier. He was away for 6, 12, even 19 months. I kind of looked to coaches – but I think I always thought of becoming a coach. ‘Luke’ asked why Coach wore a blue Hawaiian shirt at the game. Shouldn’t the head coach be a contrasting shirt to stand out? [SU wears “royal blue”] “I feel cool in blue”.
Rocky said it was no problem getting to the restaurant, even on a stormy night, because “I’m staying right near here”. His use of the word ‘staying’ suggested to me that he’s not sure how long his tenure here will be.
Matt asked Dino for an injury report. He noted that Alijah ‘Cinco’ Clark came out of the game but came back with a “spring in his step”. Dino said that things would be “about the same” for the Western Michigan game. Matt asked if there were injured players who did not play in the Colgate game who might be able to play in the WMU game. Dino: “Not with a ‘hot’ mike.”
I finally got through. First I confirmed that Matt had gotten my history of the Colgate Hoodoo he had basically asked for late in the game. He acknowledged he did and called it a ‘tome’. I’d already said I would understand if he didn’t feel like reading the whole thing, (88 pages). “We have the edge in the Colgate series and we aren’t giving it back.”
I then asked my question about following up on a successful season. Coach cited “having COVID” as the big factor in our failure to sustain the success of 2018. “We had people in the hospital. New York State looked at this through a different lens than anyone. We had to reboot with that, the portal and NIL. You adjust and improvise as things will change.” [What about 2019 coach?]
On the new scheduling in the ACC: It’s good to play the other side of the league. We can play Miami and Duke but the rivalries will still be there.
What do we have to do to beat Western Michigan? “We have to match their physicality win the turnover battle and stay clean on special teams and we’ll have a chance.”