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November 24, 2018

Dino Babers

Boston, Massachusetts

Syracuse - 42, Boston College - 21

DINO BABERS: Really excited about the 2018 class. I can still remember back to not feeling so great last year at the Dome and talking about this class and what I thought their capabilities of achieving were. I remember some people giggling, even smirking about making a statement like that based off of the score last year, but I really did believe and I had faith that these guys were a little bit different.

It didn't mean it was going to turn out the way it was supposed to turn out, but I really did believe in them.

For them to be able to accomplish what they have, second place in the ACC Atlantic, with a first place start, meaning a last-place start with the media, and then having the opportunity to do something that's very, very rare, I was telling the team the other night that 35 years of coaching I've only been on five teams that's won -- I might be wrong. I see you going, Nate; make sure you check it. I've only been on five teams that's won ten games or more, which is an average of once every seven years. Now, I haven't been on the USCs, or The Ohio State, or Alabama, I haven't been at any of those schools.

So to not be one of those schools, and to have an opportunity to win ten games is very, very rare, and it's special. We haven't done that yet; we have not, but we have an opportunity to do it, which is truly, truly amazing. Regardless of whether we achieve it or not, I will always remember the 2018 class as being the class that did what a lot of people believed they could not do.

Q. Coach, when did you know Eric was going to play, and what about that performance that he gave today?
DINO BABERS: I didn't know about the performance. I'm not that close -- I don't have that kind of vision, but he did something -- the first part of the week he really wasn't that good, and then I can't give you the exact day, I don't know if it was Wednesday or Thursday, he did something that was -- I always look at people in space, okay? I'm a picture guy, movie guy, I gotta see them in space.

He did something that looked really, really natural, like he wasn't thinking about his back, and I went over to him and I said, "Is your back bothering you? It didn't look like your back bothered you right there," and he says, "I'm feeling better. I'm feeling better." And the minute he said that, all of the hair stood up on my arm. He noticed and started laughing. "Coach, look at your hair!" All the hair stood up on my arm, because I knew right then we had a chance to win.

Q. Can you take us back to Yankee Stadium, that moment where he went down. A lot of people thought it might be more serious than it was. What was your perspective going home? Was there concern early on that it was more?
DINO BABERS: It's what doctors are for. I'm not going to do that stuff. Unfortunately I'm a guy that got hurt a lot, so when I go out there I ask them -- the trainers, the doctors get mad at me because I'm like what's going on? What's your body saying? Where are you hurt? I've been hurt so much that normally they'll say something, and I'm like, okay, I've had that before. Okay, you will be able to be back in one week, two weeks, two days. And the injury that he has, I've actually had it before, and I'm not going to say it publicly, but it's one of those things where depending on who the guy is, they could go. It just depends on who the person is, and I knew that with him and the way he fights we had a chance. It was not good early, but as young people do, they really recover very quickly once they're on the road. That's what age does for you. He recovered very quickly.

Q. What did he do on Wednesday or Thursday that you kind of thought he was back?
DINO BABERS: He took a ball, it was a read zone play, and I'm thinking he was going to hand it off, and he yanked it out at the very last minute and then he burst. If you've got a bad -- I'm not going to say what -- you shouldn't be able to do that, and he did it! And I'm thinking, okay, that looks a lot better than I thought. All of the sudden another guy came at him, and he zipped the ball out there to the perimeter, and I went whoa! Like a Secretariat thing or Sea Biscuit. It looked normal! It still gets me excited. I was like, whether or not, if he can do that, we still got a chance, another 48 hours he might be able to put in a performance, which he did.

Q. I was curious what you make over the last three years. You've seen Eric's charismatic personality, and he's outgoing on the field. I'm curious what you make of that throughout a game like this, seems like it keeps him going and fired up in a game like this.
DINO BABERS: Eric is weird. He's weird because he's a quarterback, he's not weird -- he's a football player. It's just that you don't see a lot of quarterbacks like him, and that's the weird part about him.

I finally learned that you can't talk to him like a quarterback. You have to talk to him like a linebacker, and if you talk to him like a linebacker, then he's not so weird.

Q. When you were looking over the stats, what made you go, whew!
DINO BABERS: Legitimate question. I looked at the 11 for 22 on third down. I saw the amount of plays that we ran, running 93 plays, considering that we were just sitting there and letting the clock eat off part of the fourth quarter, which meant we probably would have went over 100 plays, which was part of it. Then just looking at how many turnovers we got, which was a positive thing.

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