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first_imgAt his weekly Monday press conference this morning, Dino Babers did not lament his team’s deflating loss to North Carolina State on Thursday. He remarked on his team not liking its current positioning but, presented with the Orange’s midseason situation, Babers said trying to at least salvage something from a season on the brink is “the fun part.”“That’s the part that, you know, we’re 3-3. We’re not where we want to be. We’re not happy where we’re at. Now what?” he asked, smiling wryly at the podium. “And again, that’s what’s going to define this season. Going to define this team. It’s going to define this bunch of seniors. And I’m excited about that. I’m not happy with how things have gone, but now that all that stuff is behind us, and there’s no more rose colored glasses here. This is what we are. Look, this is what we are. It’s game six. Now, get better.”Babers addressed Syracuse’s (3-3, 0-2 Atlantic Coast) quickly dipping expectations, growing list of injuries and what might transpire Friday night against Pittsburgh (4-2, 1-1) in the Carrier Dome. While the Orange are not on track for the glory of the Orange Bowl and a second-place ACC finish, Babers remains confident as ever in his team and its ability to have a better second half of the season. AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I know that there might be some confidence lacking in other places,” Babers said, “but my confidence is good. I’m glad that all the frost and all the fluff is gone.”At the core of SU’s issues is a spate of injuries, including the long-term absence of center Sam Heckel, who exited the first half of the opener against Liberty with an undisclosed lower-body injury and hasn’t played since. Besides Heckel, defensive backs Ifeatu Melifonwu and Andre Cisco have not played since missing the Holy Cross game with respective lower-body injuries. Cisco traveled to North Carolina last week — not to play but for “something else,” Babers said. Defensive lineman McKinley Williams has been out with a lower left-leg injury since fall camp, as well. Babers ultimately said he expects no changes in SU’s injuries between now and Friday’s kickoff. Heckel and Williams, having played fewer than four games each, are both eligible for redshirts this season. Heckel’s injury has likely hampered the Orange the most, moving arguably their best lineman — Airon Servais — from left tackle to center, given he has the most experience on the team. In his stead, redshirt freshman Carlos Vettorello moved from right tackle to left and graduate transfer Ryan Alexander has filled in for Vettorello on the right side. To date, SU’s offensive line has given up 26 sacks this season, fourth-worst in the country, ahead of Miami (FL), Old Dominion and Akron. “I hope it’s not what we expect,” Babers said of the offensive line’s play going forward. “The one thing that we need to do, I’ve talked to you about game four to six, we’re going to find out where we’re at. We’re at game six. We know where we’re at. I think the big thing here is this: Everybody has a responsibility to get better.”In lieu of Heckel’s immediate return, Babers had few answers for what might happen up front, which is easily the Orange’s most pressing concern at this point. With a patchwork offensive line that’s struggling to begin with, the Orange will now host the blitz-happy Panthers on Friday. Pittsburgh’s defensive front has lived in opponents’ backfields this season, tied for second in the country for sacks with Penn State and Virginia (27.0). Offensively, Babers praised Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple’s new approaches with a traditionally dull offense. “With Coach Whipple being the offensive coordinator, not as much run, run, run,” Babers said. “I mean they’re in spread sets, they’re doing a lot more stuff. Their defense is bringing a heck of a lot more pressure than they’ve traditionally normally done.”Regardless of what the Panthers will bring schematically, SU has its own issues on the field to resolve in order to quell some of the worries off it. And against an opponent that historically plays Syracuse close, the Orange can surely expect an uphill battle. “Those guys are favored,” Babers said. “Rightfully so. And we know we’re going to have our hands full.” Comments Published on October 14, 2019 at 3:54 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @A_E_Graham Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

first_imgConor McGregor has revealed he WILL fight at UFC 200.However, there is not yet any official confirmation from event organisers.The 27-year-old Irishman had been set for a rematch with Nate Diaz at July’s event in Las Vegas, following his defeat to the American in March.But McGregor pulled out of the highly-anticipated bout due to a dispute over promotional duties, and then teased on social media that he was to hang up his gloves.On April 19 he posted: “I have decided to retire young. Thanks for the cheese.”UFC president Dana White said organisers were looking for a replacement for the Irishman, who he claimed refusing to fly to Las Vegas for a news conference and promotional photographs.But days later the UFC featherweight champion posted another statement, explaining his annoyance at being asked to do too much promotion by UFC which was disrupting his training.He ended the message by insisting he was “NOT retired” and now seems to have confirmed his re-entry to UFC 200.“Happy to announce that I am back on UFC 200,” said McGregor.“Shout out to Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta on getting this one done for the fans. Respect.” 1 Conor McGregor WILL fight at UFC 200 last_img read more