Syracuse coach: 'IDK' how you scheme for 'OMG' Clemson front

by - Staff Writer -
Dino Babers is short on words, but not on praise for Clemson's defense. (USA TODAY sports-Rich Barnes)

Syracuse coach Dino Babers was shorter on words, but not in praise for Clemson's defense Wednesday, using some texting shorthand.

"I think all the match-ups are going to be huge. I think their front four is OMG," Babers said on the ACC coaches teleconference. "Their linebackers can run with anybody. Their nickel is like a linebacker. Their corners are shutdown guys and their safeties, you can't see over them. We've got issues, and that's just on the defensive side of the ball."

So, how do you scheme for a defense of the Tigers' caliber?

"IDK (I don't know). IDK. You look at it, there's no holes," Babers said. "There's no weaknesses. It starts with fantastic athletes. They do an outstanding job in recruiting. Obviously, Coach Venables does a fantastic job with the defense. He's got a lot of experience with spread teams from his Oklahoma background, being in the Big 12.

"I just think he puts a lot of fantastic athletes in the right spots and gets them to play at a high, feverish pitch."

Babers coached in the Big 12 at Baylor from 2008-11 before becoming a head coach at Eastern Illinois (2012-13) and Bowling Green (2014-15) then taking over at Syracuse last year.

Last year in Death Valley, Syracuse starting QB Eric Dungey was knocked out early and the Orange were held to their second-lowest yardage total (277) in a 54-0 loss.

Clemson currently ranks No. 8 in total defense (264.3 YPG), while Syracuse is No. 32 in total offense (466.8).

More from Babers

On Kelly Bryant playing after ankle injury: "I don't know about the bum ankle thing. All you got to do is hand the ball back to one of those five-star tailbacks or throw the ball up to one of those five star wide receivers.

Their backup quarterback, I think he was like the No. 1 (rated) quarterback in the country or something like that. The big thing with Clemson is not necessarily who's playing quarterback. It's the other 21 guys. It's the ten guys on offense and those 11 guys on defense that happen to be fantastic football players as well. They've got a good team, regardless of who the quarterback is going to be."

On if Clemson and Alabama are in another tier in CFB: "I'll tell you what, that's a tricky answer. Let me say this: I've only -- traditionally, the statement is true. Those guys are different than everybody else. Alabama's different than everybody else. Clemson is different than everybody else. That statement is -- there's nothing truer than that statement.

Now, that being said, last year, the University of Pittsburgh found a way to beat Clemson, and they lost one game. I can't remember -- I believe Alabama lost a game last year too, although I can't remember who it was.

And I think there are some teams in the ACC Atlantic where if you catch a team where they're senior and junior oriented and their strength is in defense or an offensive team that can control the clock, I think you have a better opportunity versus the Clemsons and the Alabamas. So I think there are some teams in both conferences that can give those guys fantastic games, but they're really, really good. That's why they won the national championship last year, and Alabama, I don't know, has won four out of the last six or something like that. I can't keep track, they've won it so much.

Both of those organizations and both of those universities are doing a fantastic job."

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