Get the latest Syracuse news delivered right to your inbox.
Subscribe to our sports newsletter here.
Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito said head coach Dino Babers’ decision to start Garrett Shrader was a shock. On ESPN Syracuse’s weekly radio show, DeVito described a “normal day” ahead of Friday’s game against Liberty, with the typical walkthroughs and pregame routine.
But about two hours before kickoff, right before the Orange got on the bus to go to the Carrier Dome, DeVito said Babers called him into a meeting room and informed him that Shrader would be starting in the Liberty game.
“It was a day like I haven’t experienced before,” DeVito said on ESPN Syracuse. “All week, everything going into it, there was no indication of it otherwise.”
DeVito has been the Orange’s starter for the last three seasons, though he was injured for much of 2020. Heading into the 2021 season, Babers was adamant that he wanted to use a two-quarterback system that featured DeVito and the Mississippi State transfer. DeVito started the first three weeks, though Shrader was still featured in all three games.
In their own ways, both said they felt they’d done enough to earn the starting job.
Later, Babers said the UAlbany game would be used as a litmus test and would determine the starter moving forward. Both quarterbacks put up similar numbers during the contest — and throughout the season — throwing one touchdown and an interception. Postgame, Babers said the decision was very close and he needed to review the film, and later during the week said the evaluation was still ongoing.
DeVito and Shrader have not been made available to the media during the week after the Rutgers game.
Speaking publicly for the first time since he lost the starting job, DeVito explained he later spoke with Babers in-depth on Sunday after the Orange’s 24-21 victory. He emphasized that the most important thing was SU getting the win. Babers and DeVito talked about plans moving forward and the questions DeVito said lingered in his head on Friday and Saturday, and DeVito said he was “happy we had that conversation.”
When Babers spoke to the media on Monday after the win, he said he had a private conversation with DeVito and that he wanted to “keep my side quiet.”
Babers did say that the quarterback who performs better each game will be the starter for the next week’s game. DeVito didn’t play against Liberty, so Shrader will start this week against Florida State, he clarified.
Babers said he’s talked with both Shrader and DeVito about how the quarterbacks would split reps moving forward. DeVito was more direct when he spoke on Thursday: he said Shrader’s been taking the majority of the reps at practice this week. DeVito hasn’t taken a minority of the reps since he was Eric Dungey’s backup during the 2018 season.
“It’s nothing new to me. It’s something I’ve done since I was younger. If you’re not getting the physical reps, you have to get all the mental reps possible,” DeVito said on the show. “You have to be ready when your name is called.”
The post ‘It was a shock to me as well’: Tommy DeVito reacts to losing starting QB job appeared first on The Daily Orange.