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After leading Syracuse football to a 1-10 record in 2020 — one of its worst seasons in the past 70 years — Dino Babers appeared at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s annual media day in Charlotte, North Carolina on Thursday. Returning defensive lineman Josh Black, wide receiver Taj Harris and offensive lineman Airon Servais all joined Babers on the trip south.
Here are three takeaways from Babers’ press conference:
NIL profits on SU’s mind
Babers noted his excitement for his players to have the opportunity to profit off their name, image and likeness after the NCAA announced its interim policy change at the beginning of July. The head coach noted that SU will be offering three classes and will make experts available to educate football players on NIL rules.
Despite the lack of Syracuse football players signing significant endorsement deals, Babers said that he is confident Syracuse will catch up with other programs.
“I think there are some schools that are obviously way ahead of other schools, but I don’t think we’re going to be far behind,” Babers said. “We’re just a little slow to go. Once it gets going — the state of New York is a big state. It has a lot of people. I’m sure there’s enough name, image and likeness for everyone.”
Babers impressed with Shrader
Syracuse’s expected quarterback battle between returning starter Tommy DeVito and Mississippi State transfer Garrett Shrader was discussed on Thursday. Shrader arrived at SU in January, and Babers said he has been impressed with the Charlotte native’s competitiveness and toughness.
“I just felt when I watched him at quarterback I saw somebody who was extremely competitive, and I liked the way he competed,” Babers said.
Babers said that the quarterback battle will continue, but he recently told syracuse.com that DeVito’s preexisting knowledge of Syracuse’s offensive system could make him the frontrunner to be the starting quarterback for week one’s matchup against Ohio.
Offensive line showing improvement
SU offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh left for Arizona State in January after his unit finished the 2020 season 113 out of 127 FBS programs, according to Pro Football Focus. Babers hired Mike Schmidt to lead the O-line after Schmidt held the same position at San Diego State.
The Orange will be returning all of their linemen from last season, including Servais — a sixth-year senior — and Florida transfer Chris Bleich. But some members of the offensive line from last year won’t be seeing as much playing time in 2021, and a significant improvement will be on display, Babers said.
“It should be night and day difference. That doesn’t mean we go from a whole bunch of sacks to zero, but we better not have a whole bunch of them,” Babers said.
The post Dino Babers hints at plans for new and improved offensive line at ACC media day appeared first on The Daily Orange.