Dino Babers is consulting the Good Book ahead of the 2021 college football season.
The Syracuse Orange are a long way removed from Donovan McNabb’s heyday and went 1-10 amid the coronavirus pandemic last season. With spring camp in the rearview, Babers hopes a Bible verse proves prophetic for his football team.
Dino Babers is using the Bible to stay optimistic
Babers wants to believe that good things, especially victories, will come in threes once again.
In an interview with The Athletic, the veteran head coach explained that when he recently read through the Bible, he stumbled upon Acts 28:12. A portion of that verse reads, “And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.”
Babers said the verse provided him with a sense of optimism about the season ahead.
“My whole thing is I think about our third year, we went 4-8, 4-8, then we went 10-3. As I read the Bible again, I’m going, ‘Woo, this is getting kind of weird.’ Now we’ve gone 5-7 and 1-10 since then. But three is a strong number in the Bible, the trinity, and everything else. Maybe it will repeat itself in a third year again.”Dino Babers
The start of Babers’ sixth season at Syracuse will begin before he knows it. The Orange begin their 2021 slate on Saturday, September 4, when they host the Ohio Bobcats.
Babers should also be optimistic about Garrett Shrader
For the verse to prove prophetic and for the Orange to enjoy a winning season in 2021, Babers will likely need strong play at the quarterback position.
Enter Garrett Shrader, a transfer from Mississippi State. As a true freshman in 2019, he completed 57.5% of his passes for 1,170 yards, eight touchdowns, and five interceptions in 10 games and four starts. He also rushed for 587 yards and six touchdowns on 5.2 yards per carry.
Mike Leach brought in K.J. Costello to start at quarterback in 2020, however, and Shrader saw most of his action at receiver and on special teams. He caught an 8-yard pass and didn’t throw a single pass during the season. He transferred to Syracuse after the season ended.
Shrader is a dynamic dual-threat option who could thrive in Syracuse’s offense. Eric Dungey, a player of a similar mold, totaled 33 all-purpose touchdowns as a senior in 2018 and led the Orange to a 10-3 record that year.
Tommy DeVito, a fifth-year senior who missed most of the 2020 season with a leg injury, is also expected to return for the 2021 season. DeVito played well at times in 2019 and threw 19 touchdowns against five interceptions that season.
Syracuse has some other talented players entering the 2021 season
The ACC is made up of two tiers: Clemson and then everybody else.
For the Orange to make a bowl game for the first time since 2018, they’ll need their returning players to take another step forward. Running back Sean Tucker rushed for 626 yards and four touchdowns as a true freshman in 2020. Whoever starts at quarterback will also have the opportunity to throw to veteran receiver Taj Harris, who had 58 catches, 733 yards, and five touchdowns last season.
Linebacker Mikel Jones had four interceptions last season and was involved in eight takeaways. Fans should also get to know cornerback Garrett Williams, who earned Freshman All-American and All-ACC honors in 2020.
Will that group be enough to take down Clemson and win the ACC? Don’t bet on it. But there is more than enough talent for the Orange to overcome two down years and, quite literally, reward Babers’s faith.