Dino Babers checks out the Good Book ahead of the 2021 college football season.
The Syracuse Orange are a far cry from Donovan McNabb’s heyday and went 1-10 amid the coronavirus pandemic last season. With spring camp in the rearview mirror, Babers hopes a Bible verse will prove prophetic for his football team.
Dino Babers uses the Bible to stay optimistic
Babers wants to believe that good things, especially wins, will come in threes again.
In an interview with The Athletic, the veteran head coach explained that when he recently read the Bible, he came across Acts 28:12. Part of this verse says, “And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.
Babers said the verse gave him a sense of optimism about the upcoming season.
“My thing is, I think about our third year, we went 4-8, 4-8, then we went 10-3. Reading the Bible again, I’m like, ‘Woo, this is getting a little weird.’ Now, we’ve been 5-7 and 1-10 since then. But three is a strong number in the Bible, the trinity and everything else. Maybe it’ll be repeated again in a third year.
The start of Babers’ sixth season at Syracuse will begin before he knows it. The Oranges 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 have a winning season in 2021, Babers will likely need a solid game at quarterback.
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 KJ 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 threw no passes on the season. He was transferred to Syracuse after the end of the season.
Shrader is a dynamic, dual-threat option that could thrive on Syracuse’s offense. Eric Dungey, a player of a similar mold, totaled 33 all-around 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 for 19 touchdowns against five interceptions that season.
Syracuse has other talented players entering the 2021 season
The ACC is composed of two levels: Clemson then all the others.
For the Orange to make a game of boules for the first time since 2018, they will need their returning players to take another step forward. Running back Sean Tucker rushed for 626 yards and four touchdowns as a true rookie in 2020. Whoever starts at quarterback will also have the ability 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 acquainted with cornerback Garrett Williams, who earned Freshman All-American and All-ACC honors in 2020.
Will this group be enough to defeat Clemson and win the ACC? Don’t bet on it. But there’s more than enough talent for the Orange to overcome two years behind and, quite literally, reward Babers’ faith.
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