CHARLOTTE — Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey, defensive tackle Chris Slayton and head coach Dino Babers spoke to the media Thursday morning at the ACC Football Kickoff at the Westin Charlotte in Charlotte, N.C.
Babers on Dabo Swinney’s character
“Well, first of all, I was gone to the press conference, so I wasn’t there. Dabo, I have a great respect for Dabo, and if I was there, I’d have let him do it. He is a very unique person, a very — I think I see him as a very truthful person. His personality and his ethics is on his sleeve, and I think he’s one of those individuals in college football where what you see is what you get. I think he’s exactly what you guys appear him to be. Now, I may be wrong. I’ve been wrong before. I’ve been old enough to be wrong before. But my gut tells me that I’m right about Dabo Swinney.”
Dungey on Swinney visiting the Syracuse locker room after their win over Clemson
“Well, the win was great, so that’s what was great for us. Coach Swinney, he’s a class act, so it was cool to see that. But for us personally, 4-8 — but you look at the games, a lot of the people, a lot of reporters say, 4-8, they’re a bad team. You look at our schedule, I don’t see a lot of teams going on our schedule and putting up wins like that. We’re in every game, and unfortunately in November I wasn’t able to play, but I’m looking forward to this year and going out there and giving it all.”
Dungey on defeating Virginia Tech and Clemson in the 2017 and finishing with a 4-8 record.
“You know, Coach brought us something interesting last year. I didn’t even really realize it, but Miami last year — I think the year before they were just right on the hump, in these games, and I think that’s what we were like last year. We had one possession here and there that could have really changed the outlook on our season. It’s just learning how to win and playing against the best schools and the best teams. You’re not going to get better playing against lower competition, so you want to be with the best, you’ve got to play against the best. I’m looking forward to that, and that’s what our schedule has been in the past three years. You know, I think personally it’s given us a lot of experience, and for that I’m looking forward to going into the next year.”
Babers on the depth of their offensive line.
“Our offensive line is the best we’ve had since I’ve been there, and they are real big people that are like strong, real strong. So when you walk down the street, you want to walk with those guys, okay. And not only do we have five of them that are really good, but I think we can go to seven, eight. We’re as deep as we’ve been there. Not as deep as other football teams in the conference, but it gives us an opportunity to play a little big ball, or what I call pull up your boots, roll up your shirt sleeves and get after some people. It gives us an opportunity to be more physical than we’ve been in the past. It gives us an opportunity maybe to run the ball better than we have in the past, and if we have an opportunity to run the ball and move people around, we can help that defense a little bit and we can shorten some of those games. And when you get in the red zone, if you have the ability to run the football in the red zone and not just throw the ball in the red zone, you have a higher percentage of scoring points, which gives you an opportunity to maybe get away from some people. So I think that’s a huge advantage for us, and I think it’s one of the keys to our season.”