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Syracuse Football Preview: Coaching Staff

Dino Babers prepares for the Pinstripe Bowl against Minnesota on December 29th, 2022.
Dino Babers prepares for the Pinstripe Bowl against Minnesota on December 29th, 2022.

Football season is officially less than three months away in the 3-1-5. While Syracuse finished with its second-best record under head coach Dino Babers’ tenure last year, a bumpy ending to the season has prompted change. Find out who’s new and who has stayed on SU’s coaching staff for 2023.

Dino Babers, Head Coach

Syracuse football’s 30th-ever head coach is set to enter his eighth season at the helm of the program. In his time with the Orange, Babers has compiled a 36-49 record overall, producing just two winning campaigns (2018 and 2022). The Honolulu-born headman led SU to a 7-6 showing last year, but a 1-5 finish to the regular season, as well as a Pinstripe Bowl loss to Minnesota, ended 2022 on a sour note for the ‘Cuse.

Aside from on-the-field problems, Babers has struggled with recruiting. SU’s 2023 class ranks rock bottom in the ACC according to with a mere 17 commits. Furthermore, Syracuse managed to grab just two of its home state’s top ten players, while nearby Rutgers carved up four high-caliber signings in the Empire State.

Jason Beck, Offensive Coordinator/Quarterbacks Coach

Another season, another new offensive coordinator. SU football has its third different OC in three years with the promotion of Jason Beck from quarterbacks coach. Beck, who qualified as a longtime follower of former offensive coordinator Robert Anae, took over his higher-up’s previous position following the 64-year-old’s departure for NC State.

SU’s new OC will now be tasked with leading an offense that ranked 76th in the nation and 8th in the ACC in 2022. Among the featured players in the group is quarterback Garrett Shrader, who worked with Beck last season. The former Mississippi State product completed 205 of 317 passing attempts en route to a 2,640-yard, 17-touchdown showing.

Rocky Long, Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach

Like the offensive coordinator position, SU made some changes with its defensive leader over the offseason. Former New Mexico DC Rockly Long joins the Orange after three years with the Lobos. The 73-year-old is set to run a defense that ranked 21st in the country and 3rd in the ACC in 2022.

"I'm thrilled to have someone with Coach Long's experience join our staff," head coach Dino Babers said following Long’s hiring. "He's an innovative coach that will bring a wealth of knowledge to our football program."

Long, often known as one of the original innovators of the 3-3-5 formation, led New Mexico State to a top thirty defense last season. The Lobos allowed just over 336 yards of total offense per game in 2022.

Bob Ligashesky, Special Teams Coordinator

One place where Syracuse won’t have a new face is with its special teams coordinator. Bob Ligashesky returns to the 3-1-5 for his second season after a 2022 campaign that saw SU rank 85th in the nation for special teams. Among the places where the Orange shined was in kickoff returns, placing third nationally with an average of 26.16 yards per play.

Offensive Position Coaches: Nunzio Campanile (Tight Ends), Steve Farmer (Offensive Line), Michael Johnson (Wide Receivers) and Mike Lynch (Running Backs)

Aside from Beck, SU is set to have four other specialized coaches on the offensive side of the football. Michael Johnson and Mike Lynch highlight the group as the two veterans. The former led a unit that featured a top 35 receiver in the nation for receiving yards in Oronde Gadsden II last year, while the latter engineered a rushing offense that ranked 74th nationally.

Both Nunzio Campanile and Steve Farmer, meanwhile, qualify as newcomers. Farmer joins the ‘Cuse after a season that saw former offensive line coach Mike Schmidt’s unit allow the second most sacks of any ACC team (43). Campanile, on the other hand, unites with a group that went without a tight ends coach last season.

Defensive Position Coaches: Chris Achuff (Defensive Line), Travis Fisher (Cornerbacks) and Darrell Perkins (Safeties/Rovers)

Rounding out SU’s coaching staff are the defensive position coaches. Now sporting a combined 17 years of defensive line coaching experience, Chris Achuff returns to the SU staff for his fourth season with the program. The Orange ‘mob’ ranked 40th in the nation in sacks averaged last season with 2.46 per game and 32 overall.

In the cornerbacks group, Travis Fisher replaces Chip West, while Darrell Perkins takes over the safeties and rovers.