One year after finishing with a 4-8 record, Syracuse Football is poised to improve. Standing in the way of that improvement is the toughest schedule in the NCAA. Head coach Dino Babers, Quarterback Eric Dungey and Linebacker Zaire Franklin spoke in Charlotte today at the 2017 ACC Football Kickoff.
It took only a couple of questions before Zaire Franklin was reminded of the 2016 season finale. Back in November, Syracuse gave up 76 points en route to its eighth loss of the season. Franklin can’t wait to get that game out of his system.
“You’re only as good as your last outing, so we’re ready to get back out there and show the world that’s not who we are,” said Franklin.
Franklin, appearing in his third ACC Football Kickoff, seemed enthusiastic about the upcoming season and added that appearing in a bowl game with his team would be more meaningful to him than any individual honor.
When Quarterback Eric Dungey was asked about the upcoming season, he said it’s important that they get things going in the right direction.
“It fires me up. I just want to win. That’s my main goal, no matter what I have to do. That’s what I want to do is win,” said Dungey.
It’s clear that Syracuse is in good hands with its leaders on both sides of the ball, but depth will again be an issue for the Orange. Coach Dino Babers said his guys are getting stronger, but are still young. When asked about the offensive line, Babers admitted the position is not a great strength for his team.
“We’re not very deep at that position. We need those guys to be able to play multiple positions,” Babers said. “It’s going to be hard… the D-Linemen in the ACC is what really separates the dominant teams from the good teams.”
Babers went on to talk about the problems that are presented when you play those dominant teams if you don’t have a good offensive line. It’s hard to hide a struggling offensive line, and that unit will be put to the test again this year. Syracuse plays Clemson, Florida State, and LSU this season.
The good news for Syracuse: Eric Dungey is healthy. Dungey put on 20 pounds in the off-season and said he’s finally at a playing weight he’s comfortable with. Coach Babers said that weight appears to have helped Dungey, who he hopes can play a full season this year.
Before team interviews took place, ACC Commissioner John Swofford took the stage to address the media. He was quick to talk about the amount of success the league is currently experiencing.
“This is an exciting time for the Atlantic Coast Conference. You know that. I know that,” Said Swofford. “We’re enjoying unprecedented success, both academically and athletically, and as we look to the future, we’re extremely well positioned with countless opportunities in front of us.”
It’s easy to see where Swofford is coming from, especially on the football side. The ACC has won two of the past four national championships, two of the past four Heisman Trophies, and five straight Orange Bowls. The Conference also went 17-9 last season against power five opponents.
Another point of emphasis for Swofford was the continued progress of the ACC Network. Last summer, the conference announced its deal with ESPN to launch an ACC Network in 2019. The ACC is well into its plan, which included launching ACC Network Extra, the conference’s digital platform for live events.
“There’s a lot of activity currently underway, and that activity is on our 15 campuses. It’s at our offices in Greensboro. It’s at ESPN Campuses in Bristol, as well as here in Charlotte,” Said Swofford.
The commissioner concluded his comments about the network by saying the 2019 launch is on schedule.
With the ACC Football Kickoff now out of the way, Syracuse now focuses on their first opponent: Central Connecticut State, Friday, September 1st.
2017 SYRACUSE UNIV FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
SAT SEP 1, 2017 @ 7:00PM
CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE
SAT SEP 9, 2017 3:30PM
SAT SEP 16, 2017 3:30PM
SAT SEP 23, 2017 TBA
BATON ROUGE, LA
SAT SEP 30, 2017 TBA
AT NC STATE
SAT OCT 7, 2017 TBA
HOMECOMING CARRIER DOME
FRI OCT 13, 2017 7PM
SAT OCT 21, 2017 TBA
MIAMI GARDENS, FL
SAT NOV 4, 2017 TBA
AT FLORIDA STATE
SAT NOV 11, 2017 TBA
SAT NOV 18, 2017 TBA
NOV 25, 2017 TBA