Dino Babers: Freedom and QB competition

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Dealing with the offensive threat from Malik Willis is a priority for the Orange this week. His playing ability is unmatched as it is perhaps the biggest test the Oranges have faced this season. The dual threat quarterback will not only kill you in midair but also intends to go through a whole truck defense. Syracuse head coach Dino Babers not only attributes the quarterback arm but also his determination when carrying the ball.

“He’s a quarterback who can pitch football, he throws a good deep ball, he throws a good short ball,” Babers said. “But he’s running so hard I’m not going to call him a running back because he’s not but god he doesn’t run like a quarterback he’s better than that.”

Babers’ praise is the result of his experience with Liberty over the past two seasons. In 2019 Orange beat Liberty 24-0 and in 2020 Orange lost to Liberty 21-38. The record is split 1-1, with both teams intending to take the lead in the series. The stability of the Liberty offensive contrasts perfectly with the uncertainty of the Orange offensive.

“They’ll know first, the team will know second, the media will know third,” is Dino Babers’ approach to his own quarterback competition. The ongoing assessment of DeVito and Shrader continues from camp, as the team still cannot decide who “won” the battle. Babers wants one of them to win on the pitch, meaning to let the performance speak volumes which the crowd can decide. Who will take the first shot … this information cannot be released as it will give a “tactical advantage,” Babers said.

With all the noise surrounding this game, the team personally suffered last year’s loss ahead of Friday night’s game. The thick air of the Dome will weigh heavily on the Orange as fans hope their weekends come with a win. After a resounding victory over a weaker opponent at UAlbany, the Oranges are looking to prove a point against some good competition at Liberty before entering ACC play.


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