June 25, 2021

Babers: Syracuse still trying to get healthy after bye week

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Nine days after Syracuse’s (3-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) last game, a 41-3 win over Holy Cross, the Orange is still trying to get fully healthy leading up to Thursday’s contest at North Carolina State (3-2, 0-1). SU’s first idle week of the season came at an “interesting” time, head coach Dino Babers said, but the status of usual starters Sam Heckel, Andre Cisco and Ifeatu Melifonwu are still up in the air with three days until the Orange’s matchup against the Wolfpack.“Right now I wouldn’t bet on those guys playing,” Babers said during his press conference on Monday. “I think it’s gonna stay the same.”Heckel started the season-opener at center but played just 38 snaps before leaving due to injury and has yet to return to the field. Cisco, a preseason All-American safety, and Melifonwu, one of SU’s starting cornerbacks, both suffered lower-body injuries against Clemson and have missed the past two games. Antwan Cordy and Scoop Bradshaw have started in their places against Western Michigan and Holy Cross, two Syracuse victories, but the injuries have left Syracuse without two of its best defenders heading into the heart of ACC play. Babers explained that he was still waiting for the final word on some of the injured players, but no matter what SU will be employing the “next man up” attitude they’ve used all season. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“[The bye weeks are] coming at a good time for the physical part of it,” Babers said. “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. We’re getting hit in some areas that are really affecting our football team.”One player who will definitely be starting for the Orange on Thursday is quarterback Tommy DeVito, who appeared to get a little banged up late in Syracuse’s win over Holy Cross. DeVito left the game and never returned, although SU already had the game in hand anyway. When asked about his choice to keep his starting quarterback in so late during a blowout game, Babers stood by his decision.Looking back at the Holy Cross game was one of the ways SU spent its week, in addition to self-assessing itself through five games this year. Babers said that doing so was one of the most important parts of having the week free, so that the team could definitely determine what its good or bad at. “Michael Jackson, Man in the Mirror. You think you’re really good at something, and then you start looking at it and you’re like, ‘we’re really not that good at it,’” Babers said. “Or you think that ‘we’re not very good at this’ and we really are very efficient at something. So I think the self-check is the biggest thing that happens during a bye week.”As for his thoughts on Syracuse’s upcoming opponent, Babers explained that he thinks NC State is in a similar position as the Orange is at this point in the season. Both teams have identical records and are coming off an idle week, although the Wolfpack most recently lost to Florida State while SU’s won two games in a row. Babers said he’s looking forward to playing a nationally-televised contest “in front of the entire country,” as Syracuse will play its first Thursday game since 2011. After last season’s 51-41 Syracuse win over the Wolfpack in the Carrier Dome, he believes NC State’s home-field advantage will be a factor in this year’s edition. “We gotta find a way to make up that advantage,” Babers said. “They’re playing at home, they’re a hard team to beat at home. I think this is a really pivotal swing game for both programs, and I think it’s gonna be a highly-contested football game.” Comments Published on October 7, 2019 at 1:10 pm Contact Eric: [email protected] | @esblack34last_img

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