Syracuse Orange football: All about 2023 and beyond
The Syracuse orange lost their 5th game in a row last night. On a night when the offense finally got going, a thin defense couldn’t slow down the Demon Deacons.
Some of you have been screaming since last December that we need a new head coach. You ignored the $10 million buyout, you ignored the millions that Syracuse is investing in the JMA Dome and the Lally complex. You want change, and that’s understandable….but it’s not happening on your schedule.
Barring a scandal, Dina Babers returns in 2023. Honestly, it’s not as important to the program’s success as who returns to the staff next summer. We know how people feel about Tony White’s work on defense, and anyone with eyes can see the improvement on offense that has come with Robert Anaye and Jason Beck. Those additions over the last couple of years have made a difference and made the Orange a more competitive team, even if it didn’t translate to a win in November.
What hasn’t improved is the injury report, and frankly, SU is better off investing instead of taking a big buyout this winter. The foundation of many programs, especially football, needs to be addressed. When director of sports medicine Brad Pike left for Cincinnati in May, Syracuse didn’t bring in a replacement for five months. As Mikel Jones mentioned at the ACC Kickoff, Syracuse is the only ACC school without a dedicated sports nutritionist. The the football winger is 31 years old. When we talk about what happened to the Orange, it’s not about changing conferences, it’s about not being able to keep up with the times.
These areas are critical to rebuilding any program, but especially so for the P5 soccer team. Are the annual injury problems related to recruiting, player development and proper diet and nutrition? It’s probably more than just bad luck to keep seeing the same things, so firing and hiring new personnel while continuing to neglect other areas seems like a poor way to solve Syracuse football’s problems. The Lally project seems like a long-overdue answer, but taking millions from the project to buy out Babers seems like propping up a support beam with a ladder and hoping things turn out well.
I personally switched from Dino Babers. He’s a nice guy, but he hasn’t made any improvements in his game or player management. We saw what LeQuint Allen was able to do last night and wondered why he wasn’t getting touches with a run-heavy offense. The decision not to pull the starters against Wagner or State of Florida increases injury problems and prevents young players from gaining experience.
Which brings me to my main point: the promise of a good season turning into something special has passed. Syracuse achieved their goal of bowl games, they get extra practice and one more game for these young players to get them ready for spring and next season. We’ll have the same discussion about Dean next year – if he can’t get to 6 wins in 2023, then Syracuse should end the bond sooner because the buyout is much less scary.
Even if he makes it to 6, he’ll be in his senior year (we’re guessing), which isn’t a good fit for any program. John Wildhack and the board of trustees need a transition plan, and they need it in place sooner rather than later. Would Tony White have turned down other offers if he had known he was taking over in 2024? Would Becca have kept her promise of promotion to OC at that time? Would Babers transition to a general manager position where he could offer programmatic guidance and still be around to mentor players and meet with families?
Air your grievances, but understand that if you don’t write that $10 million check, Deanna Babers will head into 2023 leading a Syracuse team looking for its first back-to-back appearances since 2012-13.
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