Libonati: For Syracuse football, change takes time; change isn’t easy; change is painful

first_imgChange ain’t easy. And it’s not quite time for Syracuse to panic after losing two games to what should be a top-five team in Louisville and a team that will likely be ranked at some point this season in South Florida.SU has shown growth in each of those games. It’s also shown the pain it’ll take to get where head coach Dino Babers thinks the team can end up.The Orange outscored the Cardinals for two-thirds of the game, 28-27, and romped in the first quarter against the Bulls, jetting out to a 17-0 lead. In 53 minutes, 42 seconds of game time, Syracuse has outscored those two opponents, 45-21.Then there’s the pain: the other 66 minutes, 18 seconds. In that time, UofL and USF obliterated Syracuse, 65-3. For the third time in as many games, the Orange ended with Zack Mahoney under center because each one has been out of reach — either good or bad.“For the most part, for the offense to flow, you have to have weapons all across the board,” Babers said. “That’s when it really gets to be good because it doesn’t matter what they take away. You’ve always got a weapon somewhere else. We’re not there yet. We’re not there today.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“We will get there someday.”MORE COVERAGE:Stock watch: How are Syracuse players trending after loss to South FloridaWhat we learned from SU’s loss to USFWatch: Dino Babers’ postgame press conference after 45-20 loss Three games in, Syracuse (1-2, 0-1 Atlantic Coast) has looked as expected — just like former SU head coach Scott Shafer’s players playing in a system that really doesn’t fit them yet, especially on defense. SU has allowed 649.5 yards per game against FBS teams, good for last in the country. The next closest is Texas Tech, which allows 612 yards per game to FBS teams, and only three teams allow 600 or more yards per game.Syracuse has a long way to go, and it’s not always going to be pretty. But to turn the program around, it has to get worse before it gets better. Babers said he was unwilling to put ceilings on the season, but that also means he didn’t put a floor on the season either.“Give us the time, it’ll work,” Babers said before the season. “It’s a proven product. It’ll work. Just don’t be quick to judge.”This qualifies as quick to judge, but the offense has found a way to live up to its billing in spots. The Orange has run 101.5 plays per game, the most against FBS opponents in the country according to, and averages nearly 482 yards in those games.John Williams | Contributing PhotographerBut Babers has taken over possibly the least-talented Syracuse team since Doug Marrone replaced Greg Robinson. Mix that in with the injuries SU has suffered and it’s no surprise the season has started the way it has.Unlike Marrone or Shafer, Babers has an offense and defense that aren’t used as much by other teams. Putting both in has shown Syracuse was understandably unready for either. Fans were excited by the Baylor-style spread.But Babers said when he came to SU the system might take two years or more to fully implement, and it looks like that number was right.At his other coaching stops, Babers has used a phrase, “Don’t tell me about the pain, just deliver the baby” (he says it’s been shortened to “Don’t tell me about the pain” for sensitivity reasons).The problem at SU is it’s all about the pain, and it’ll be that way for a while because the process is going to be painful. Instituting new systems without the players you need to run them naturally causes problems and takes time. Delivering the baby, that might take a little longer.“When we get there someday,” Babers said, “that will be a heck of a day.”Chris Libonati is an Asst. Sports Editor at The Daily Orange, where his column appears occasionally. He can be reached at or @ChrisLibonati. Comments Related Stories Stock up/stock down: A look back at Syracuse football’s loss to South FloridaWhat we learned from Syracuse football’s 45-20 loss to South FloridaSyracuse football loses control of game during 28-point 2nd quarter for South FloridaGallery: Syracuse football blows 17-point lead in loss to South FloridaWith shrinking margin of error against USF, Syracuse football makes too many mistakes in 45-20 loss Published on September 18, 2016 at 11:05 pm Contact Chris: | @ChrisLibonati Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Women’s lacrosse takes on Michigan, Vermont at home

first_imgWith an undefeated record and two weeks off from competitive play, the Women of Troy are ready to take on Michigan and Vermont Friday and Saturday, respectively, at home.“We’re just excited to have another game,” head coach Lindsey Munday said. “It’s been a long stretch. It was a good opportunity, though, to rest our bodies and to make sure that we’re improving on the things that we saw from the first two games.”In just their fourth year as a program, the Trojans have raced off to their best start in program history with a 2-0 record, including a commanding 11-5 win against No. 5 ranked Duke on Feb. 20.In the team’s success, the veteran seniors and strong team chemistry have been instrumental.“Our seniors have done a great job not only bringing in our freshman, but also welcoming my class, and they do a great job not only leading by example, but also making sure everyone is included,” sophomore goalie Gussie Johns said. “I’ve found that the closer your team is, the better you play together, and I really think that’s one of our strengths going into the season.”In the team’s two victories, Johns and the Trojan defense have only allowed seven shots to enter the back of the net.“Our defensive unit is so close,” Johns said. “We’ve had the same unit for the past two years, and that’s really helped us. We’ve just worked really hard to get that cohesiveness, especially throughout preseason.”Maintaining a strong defensive front will be crucial for the Trojans as they prepare to face Michigan’s powerful offense. With six games under their belt and a 4-2 record, the Wolverines have produced dominant wins against Central Michigan, Marquette, SDSU and Canisius while only losing to No. 7 Florida and Oregon by a margin of one in each game. A key asset to the Wolverine offense will be junior captain Tess Korten, who was crucial in the team’s win against Canisius, notching a hat trick in the first half.The Trojan offensive lineup boasts junior attacker Michaela Michael, who won MPSF Player of the Week following the team’s win against Stetson, and junior attacker and midfielder Kylie Drexel who scored four goals against Duke.With two weeks off, the Trojans have been honing in on their technical skills and focusing on getting better each and every day. In their first match-up in program history, the Trojans are excited for the opportunity to play a new team.“The biggest thing is we always want to focus on us,” Munday said. “We need to make sure we focus on the details and make sure that we play our style of lacrosse all over the field. We want to be in charge. It’s exciting to play a new team that we haven’t seen before.”The Women of Troy will battle against Michigan at 3:00 p.m. Friday at McAlister Field and Vermont Saturday at 3 p.m. at the same location.last_img read more