After last year’s cancelation, Syracuse University Football Fan Fest made a comeback this past weekend. Coach Dino Babers and players interacted with fans, while numerous other activities got local residents excited for the upcoming season.
Babers is currently in the middle of pre-season practice and said Fan Fest came at a good time to get the community and his players connected.
“This community is special and when you talk about how close we are, we’re not a big city, we’re a small city. And I just think it’s really cool that the community and the fans can reach out and touch these guys and take selfies with them, and really know what they’re all about. I just think it’s really cool.”
The players and coaches took the field for some drills as players showed off their hard work. They even competed against fans a bit in passing, catching and the 40 yard dash.
Fans of 15 years, Tom and Erin Murphy brought their triplets to the event for a specific reason.
“It’s family time, so we really love to bring them just because it, I guess it just brings us together as a family.”
While Tom has his sights on an improvement in the football team’s record for the coming season, after last year’s 4-8 mark.
“I would say with the difficult schedule, making a bowl game would be a step in the right direction.”
Scott Shindler has been an SU fan his entire life, after his mom attended the University. He’s also optimistic – but more tempered – in his hopes for the season.
“Well, I hope it’s better than last year. I’ve seen magazines saying that we could go to a bowl game. But I’d be happy with 5-7, or 4-8 even.”
He showed his enthusiasm by getting a caricature drawn of himself in SU theme.
Mike and Liz Ritchie have been fans for 40 years. They brought their son Luke to enjoy the event. He’s also ready for the team to rise.
“We both grew up in the area. We’ve been season ticket holders for about 10 years. I think they’re going to be a lot batter but the schedule is really tough. So to see if that translates into enough wins for a bowl.”
Coach Babers says the team has had one full scrimmage in practice and will have just one more before positions for the start of the season will be set.
SU’s first game of the season is Friday, September 1st. WAER sports will start previewing the season with sportscasts during Morning Edition and All Things Considered August 21st. And, of course, we’ll broadcast the game live from the Carrier Dome, along with all the games all season.