Syracuse has a history with Running Backs. The first really great Running Back was Jim Brown who is considered by many as the greatest Running Back of all time. Besides Brown, there was Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, Jim Nance and Larry Csonka.
In the 1950 and 1960’s nobody had better Running Backs than Syracuse, not even USC.
But, that was a long, long time ago.
With the arrival of new football coach Dino Babers from Bowling Green, some Syracuse fans have to be thinking the Orange could become known for producing great Quarterbacks.
Babers was an assistant coach for many years with Arizona State, Arizona, Texas A%M, Purdue, UCLA, Baylor and several others before finally being named head coach at Eastern Illinois. He coached Eastern Illinois to a 19-7 record in 2 seasons before he was named the head man at Bowling Green.
At Bowling Green, he coached the Falcons to a 18-9 record over 2 more seasons. Schools took notice of Babers after leading Bowling Green to an impressive 10-3 record in 2015.
Syracuse was not happy with the direction their program was going, so they hired Dino Babers. Baylor coach Art Briles will get credit for shaping Babers, but he coached at so many schools and for so long that credit should go mostly to Babers himself.
Last season at Bowling Green, Baber’s Quarterback Matt Johnson threw for 4,946 yards and 48 Touchdowns.
His top 2 Wide Receivers were both underclassmen, but both left right after Babers with Roger Lewis declaring for the NFL and Gehrig Dieter transferring to Alabama where he will be eligible to play right away. Lewis caught 85 passes in 2015, while Dieter hauled in 94.
The question is, can Babers do the same thing at Syracuse?
I’m thinking he can and he will.
It all starts with recruiting. Can Babers recruit to Syracuse the necessary athletes to compete in the ACC?
Time will tell, but he’s already pulled in a nice Quarterback commit in Tommy Devito from Don Bosco High School in Ramsey, New Jersey. Devito is just the kind of Quarterback that can have the kind of season that Matt Johnson had last season at Bowling Green.
However, Baber’s first recruiting class at Syracuse was less than impressive. In all fairness, a first recruiting class at most schools will not be the best at most schools and Syracuse has been down for a while.
He will need to improve recruiting in his second class which I feel he will accomplish.
But, what does he have to work with now at Syracuse?
At the skill positions, he has everybody back.
Eric Dungey is not a bad Quarterback at all. He came in as a true freshman from Lake Oswego, Oregon and started. While he was a good looking prospect when he played, he was also injured a lot and missed 4 games.
Can Dino Babers and staff turn Dungey into another Matt Johnson? Maybe.
Filling in for Dungey often last season was walk-on Zach Mahoney who showed a lot of heart. Unfortunately, that heart didn’t translate into a lot of wins.
They return all of their Running Backs and their receivers. I really like Wide Receiver Steve Ishmael.
The Offensive Line could be a problem because they only return 2 starters.
The Defense has potential because they return 9 starters including leading tackler, Zaire Franklin.
Babers is a good coach and proved it in the MAC, but the ACC is not the MAC.