Syracuse Football: Tony White gone, Dino Babers chatter on Purdue job

Syracuse football (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)
Syracuse football (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images) /

Well, as Syracuse football prepares to play Big Ten Conference member Minnesota in the 2022 Pinstripe Bowl later this month at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, N.Y., there are some other things to discuss that connect the Orange to the Big Ten.

For one, word broke via ESPN’s Pete Thamel on Thursday that ‘Cuse defensive coordinator Tony White is being hired for the same position at Big Ten team Nebraska.

Late last month, Nebraska hired Matt Rhule as its next head coach. He most recently was the head coach of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, and Rhule was also a head coach at the collegiate level for Baylor and Temple.

While I’m happy for White and wish him nothing but success with Nebraska, to me, this is a huge blow to the Syracuse football program.

White’s Mob defense was pretty darn good for much of the 2022 regular season, when the Orange went 7-5 overall but also had to contend with a flood of injuries, particularly on the defensive side of the field.

Could Tony White leaving be just the first domino to fall at Syracuse football?

My fingers are crossed that the ‘Cuse will hire an excellent defensive coordinator to replace White.

Steve Infanti, the terrific sports director at NewsChannel 9 in Syracuse, reported via Twitter on Thursday that Nick Monroe is expected to take over as the Orange’s defensive coordinator in the Pinstripe Bowl versus Minnesota.

In 2022, Monroe has served as the team’s defensive passing game coordinator.

But there’s more here as it relates to Syracuse football coaches – specifically, head coach Dino Babers.

Louisville on Thursday officially hired Jeff Brohm as the Cardinals’ head coach, replacing Scott Satterfield, who left for Cincinnati. Brohm, who played quarterback at Louisville, was the head coach at Big Ten squad Purdue.

That leaves an opening for the head coach of the Boilermakers, and I came across at least two media reports that included Babers as a potential candidate for this position.

Now, would Purdue really make a run at Babers? I have no idea. Would he have interest if the Boilermakers offered him the job? Perhaps.

Babers, per his bio on, did serve as Purdue’s wide receivers coach from 1991 to 1993. Geographically speaking, he also is likely familiar with the region, having also previously served as the head coach at Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green prior to coming to the Hill.

I think it’s safe to say that from a football perspective, the Big Ten is superior to the Atlantic Coast Conference. And the Big Ten had previously announced the expected additions of Southern California and UCLA, two major football brands in the massive Los Angeles media market.

I’ll tell you what, with White gone, it does concern me that things could start to crumble, from a coaching standpoint, in Central New York. Understandably, that could also result in additional Orange players entering the NCAA’s transfer portal.

Let’s not forget that Babers, in the off-season, brought in numerous new assistant coaches, including offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck. Both of them previously were at Virginia.

I know that a lot of Syracuse football fans want Babers gone, but I’m not in that camp. Then again, we’ll have to see how the coaching carousel in the sport of college football may further impact the Orange program moving forward.

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