Syracuse Football: Dino Babers needs to win, pundits offer some optimism

Syracuse football (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Syracuse football (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /

Syracuse football looks to improve upon its 5-7 mark in 2021 by getting at least one more victory to qualify for a post-season bowl berth in the upcoming campaign.

With only one winning stanza in his tenure as the Orange’s head coach, Dino Babers is probably at least a little bit on the hot seat, even if ‘Cuse athletic director John Wildhack struck down that very notion in late June.

Many Orange fans whom I interact with on social media believe that Babers has to reach six victories in 2022, or SU Athletics leaders will likely let him go.

For me, one main sticking point with that sort of sentiment is that Babers will have multiple first-year assistant coaches on the sidelines with him in the 2022 term.

So unless Syracuse football is downright awful in 2022, I can’t envision Babers getting fired after the coming season. Naturally, I hope that the ‘Cuse triumphs on a half-dozen or more occasions this fall to make the possibility of Babers being dismissed virtually non-existent.

National experts have said some encouraging things about Syracuse football lately.

Now, it’s true that the Orange is projected to face one of the country’s toughest schedules in 2022, at least on paper anyway.

As has proven the case in other recent stanzas, we’ll have to see how the ‘Cuse offensive and defensive lines hold up this fall. The special-teams unit, too, must significantly improve after faltering in 2021.

What’s more, the team’s incumbent starting quarterback, Garrett Shrader, will have to prove that he can hurt defenses not just with his running abilities, but also with his passing attack.

The Orange’s QB depth took a hit in May when word broke that redshirt freshman Justin Lamson, who may have been Shrader’s No. 1 back-up at quarterback, would be out indefinitely after undergoing surgery for a knee injury.

Babers, as we all know, hired offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck, who put forth a prolific offense while most recently at Virginia.

That has led some national pundits to opine that, perhaps, Shrader may be in line for a better passing performance this season as compared to his anemic throwing numbers in 2021.

Just a few days ago, Chip Patterson of CBS Sports published an in-depth piece where he discussed Atlantic Coast Conference quarterbacks.

He characterized Shrader as a “returning starter with breakthrough potential.” Noting the hiring of both Anae and Beck, Patterson wrote in part that the “creativity in the play-calling and schemes could be really dangerous with the weapons in Syracuse’s backfield.”

Of course, by backfield, we’re talking about ‘Cuse star running back Sean Tucker, who shattered the team’s single-season rushing record in 2021 and has accumulated a ton of pre-season All-America accolades ahead of the upcoming campaign.

The Orange’s line-backing group, led by All-American candidate Mikel Jones, will be really, really good. The same goes for the ‘Cuse secondary, where it has stars in Garrett Williams and Duce Chestnut.

Earlier this month, Dennis Dodd of CBS Sports wrote in part, “Things are actually looking up for Cuse.”

Last but not least, Brandon Marcello of 247Sports said that “Dino Babers is quickly approaching the point of no return.” But Marcello added, “Babers needs to win and reaching a bowl game is important. This is the team to make that move.”

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