With Syracuse football set to open up against Colgate this Friday, ‘Cuse fans are waiting in anticipation of what new head coach Dino Babers will be bringing to the Loud House. After the depth chart was recently released, I had the opportunity to talk with someone on the Hill about camp and Orange football. Here are some takeaways from that conversation.

  • SU coaches expect to stop the run. While many fans have been skeptical about the young defensive line, the coaching staff is very excited about the development of linemen Chris Slayton, Steven Clark, and Kayton Samuels. Jake Pickard has impressed as well, but an injury has slowed him as of late. The staff feels stopping the run will be able to put teams in third and long situations, which the Tampa-2 will help create fourth downs.
  • Get ready to see shots downfield. Many fans know the offense moves fast and points will be scored. There are lots of feelings that the wide receivers we have will be able to take advantage of the aggressive play calling. Receivers who have impressed during camp include Steve Ishmael, Amba Etta-Tawo, Jamal Custis, and Brisly Estime.
  • Don’t worry about left tackle. Remember when everyone was excited about Sean Hickey finally seeing the field? The same should happen with Cody Conway. He’s got great strength and mobility. If he keeps doing what he has been doing, he’ll play on Sundays.
  • Does SU have a lock down corner? Many people will agree that the secondary is the biggest question mark on the defensive side. Well, enjoy watching Corey Winfield this season. The coaching staff thinks his athletic ability, speed, and length will make him a perfect fit for the coverage he will be in. Here’s to hoping we’ve found our Ronde Barber.
  • Lastly, we all know Dino Babers knows what he is doing. Word on the street is he is putting out a very specific message for a very specific reason. There is thought that Syracuse is much farther along than most people know. Points are going to be scored and this offense is going to be exciting. This is going to be something very different for teams in the ACC. Don’t expect upsets of Florida State or Clemson (yet), but the rest of the division could be in for a rude awakening. Yes, that includes Louisville.

I’ll be doing a game by game prediction soon, but put me in the 8-win column. I’m excited for Friday. I made a comment last year at the Louisville game at a SU fan tailgate that I was afraid I would never see Orange football dominant in my lifetime (as someone who started college during the Greg Robinson years). I can 100% say I’ve never been this excited about the potential of SU football.

(Editor’s note: And it looks like Erv Philips agrees)

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Justin is a 2011 graduate from SUNY Buffalo State. Since that time, he spent several years coaching high school football in North Carolina while also working at NC State, and has also served as a head and assistant tennis coach at the Division III and Division I levels. During this tenure coaching high school football, he sent players to continue their football career at Alabama, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Purdue, North Carolina State, East Carolina, and other Division II and III schools.


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