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NC State Football

Babers: "They're A Hard Team To Beat At Home"

October 9, 2019

Syracuse head coach Dino Babers fielded questions from the media on the upcoming game against NC State.

Opening Statement...
​​​​​​Going down to play NC State this week, and obviously, a Thursday night game, well it’s always fun when we play in front of the entire country. A football team that's kind of a little bit in the state of ours; I think this is a good football team that's going through some changes.

They needed the bye week as much as we did for injuries. Now, no change in our injuries at all. We're still waiting to see if we can get some guys back. Hopefully we can get some of those guys back because they're good players.

But that happens in football. We need to play with the guys that are capable. And the next man up attitude is the attitude we're going to have.

Any chance the injured defensive backs return?
Not going to talk about any of those guys. I think it's gonna probably stay the way everything's been. Right now, I wouldn’t bet on those guys playing. I think it’s going to stay the same.

Any long-term concerns with Sam Heckel?
You have to talk to the medical people about that. I’m not going to talk about his business.

How do you feel coming off the bye?
You know, I think the bye comes at a very interesting time, obviously, with the, you know, we've got five games in the books, we're going to get another bye here, I think after three or four, I can't remember the breakup, how it comes.

But they're coming at good times. They’re coming at a good time for the physical part of it, too. It's a long season. And last year, the beauty of it was we got hurt at the right positions, where we had a lot of depth; [now] we're getting hit in some areas that are really affected in our football team. But I think a lot of football teams across the country are going through the same thing.

And this is where coaches need to adapt, and players need to step up and, and continue to try to do the things that you need to do to achieve the goals that you set out when the season started.

Is Tommy Devito playing Thursday night?
Yeah. He's our starting quarterback.

How did the bye week help team growth?
We really worked on - your guys, anytime you get into the bye week, there's two things you have to do, you have to get healthy and you have to try to get better. And we're working on all the positions to get better.

We're trying to see if there's somebody locked into the two deep, that should have an opportunity to be in the one or the 1.5, is how we how we talked about it. Somebody needs to have more repetition, more repetitions in the game, and see if they can help us this year, instead of maybe trying to help us next year. So we're working on all those guys and they did a good job. But you can only do so much when you have guys that are out and guys trying to get healthy at the exact same time.

Any personnel changes vs. NC State?
Some guys did some nice jobs when they came in; we're going to have to see how it goes. Absolutely, that could happen.

Thoughts on NC State defensive lineman Larrell Murchison...
Well, I don't know. That young man can play. He can flat[out] play football. And I think the biggest thing is that we have got to try to do things, I don't know if you can really stop really, really good players. But we got to try to find a way to slow him down.

There's some things that we will try to do that we're not going to publicly state. But he is one of the better football players on this team, and we think he's a good player.

On using two-back formations vs. NC State...
I think [it] was just a matter of trying to get both of those young men on the field. That's something that we can come back to it anytime. It doesn't disappear, it stays with us.

On tempo from the last two games...
We've worked really hard on - hopefully we're going to play even faster. I think that's really the key is that getting these rolling as fast as the slowest guy that we have on offense, and getting them up to speed, is something that we've been really working hard on and hopefully something that we can put behind us in the rearview mirror, that we can continually accelerate that pace, so to speak.

Are there some things you can do in a bye that you can’t do otherwise?
I think the biggest thing you do during a bye week is you get an opportunity to look at yourself, you get to self-scout yourself. It gives you time to catch your breath and see what your opponents are looking. And you get to really - Michael Jackson, “Man in the mirror” - look at yourself and say, okay, you think you're really good at something, but then you start looking at it, you go like “we're really not that good at it”, or you think that we're not very good at this, we really are very efficient at something.

So I think the self-check is the biggest thing that happens during that - during the bye week. And once again, based off of where our byes are, I think they come at good times for us."

Does NC State’s DC being at West Virginia last year help you?
I think that anytime that we play someone that's familiar with us, we did, we've gone back, and we've looked at it, and I'm sure that they've looked at it, as well. You know, the guy is a good coach, I'm not quite sure he's the defensive coordinator.

I think his name is [Gibson], co-defensive coordinator. And I think their defensive coordinator from last year is still there. So they may be working together. I'm not sure the ins and outs of what's going on in NC State. I'm worrying about Syracuse. But the defense is very good. It has some… some West Virginia-type qualities to it. And, you know, deciding whatever defense they decide to play, we're going to have to be ready for.

On the development of Eric Coley...
He's really grown as a player when you, when you look at his development. That's one of the things that you get a lot of pleasure as, as a coach, not only his on field development, but his physical development, he's changed his body physically. And if you've been around the program, like a lot of you guys have out here for a long period of time, you see them walk in as recruits.

Some of you guys get the opportunity to know them as high school recruits. And then to see him two or three years down the road with the strength, nutrition, and the development that goes on with their bodies. It's kind of exciting. So he's one of those guys that we've watched grown up inside the - inside the family, and I'm excited for him and excited for his family. He’s been doing some outstanding things.

How will you use Luke Benson going forward?
Luke is a guy that if you tell him to do something, he does it exactly the way you tell him to do it. And anytime you get someone like that, they have a chance.

And obviously, we're watching him physically, he's not exactly where we want him to be yet, but he has some attributes that you might be able to use in a football game that can help you win. He's caught some football, he's made some plays. He's a guy that we're not afraid to get the ball to, to see how well he can do.

When would you pull Tommy to get other guys experience?
I'm trying to win. We're out there and we're trying to win a football game. We're going to play our best players. When we feel the game is out of hand. All the players, all my sons, stepsons are important. And you get an in and out of the game based off with that.

Do you think NC State and Syracuse look similar?
I do. I think you look at the - I think the home field advantage is going to be big this year. And we've got to find a way to try to make up that advantage. They look at where they are. The problem is we're in a better situation, maybe with our quarterback situation, than they are.

But when you add up their defense, they've got some high quality defensive players. They've got some running backs that can make some plays, they're playing at home. They're a hard team to beat at home. I think that this is a really pivotal swing game for both programs. And I think it's going to be a highly contested football game. Thank you.

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