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September 13, 2017

Dino Babers

Greensboro, North Carolina

DINO BABERS: We're looking forward to our contest with Central Michigan. We've had some experience, obviously, with MAC teams in my history and in my past. This is going to be a fine football team, no different than the one we had here last week, and we'll have our hands full.

Q. To look at the safety position, obviously I know that Antwan Cordy will be out for a little bit. But with Jordan Martin, Rodney Williams and Evan Foster in that rotation, what have you seen from the personnel you've had at the safety position through these first couple games?
DINO BABERS: I think we have a lot of guys that can do different things well. We'll have to continue to rotate those guys and keep them fresh and see if all three of those guys together can find a way to replace the hole that we're going to have with Antwan being gone.

Q. When you look at the offensive side of the ball, obviously a lot of what you do on offense is rapid, it's fast, it's getting up-and-down the field and scoring the ball as often as possible, what was it about this past game against Middle Tennessee that when you go back and look at the film that you can take away from that as teachable notes going into this game against Central Michigan as far as your offense goes?
DINO BABERS: Just a lot of mental mistakes. They were a fine, physical team. Extremely quick, but a lot of those mistakes were self-indulged. They were mental mistakes on our part that we can correct that weren't physical mistakes. We need to do a better job with the mental game.

Q. Josh Allen announced this morning that he had been granted permission to speak to other schools except for ACC schools. You had talked recently about wanting grad transfers to be able to go wherever he's obviously not a grad transfer. But why the decision to limit him from going to ACC school since he's DQ'd here?
DINO BABERS: I haven't limited him at all. It's just been a release. That was a mishap. He can go to any school he'd like.

Q. That clears that up. On another note, Central Michigan announced a couple of their receivers will be out. I know you don't generally talk about injuries. But in light of that, can you tell us how Jamal Custis is doing?
DINO BABERS: I don't know what the whole diagnosis on Jamal is yet, whether he's going to be able to come back and help us now or later. I've just got to wait and see.

Q. What went into the decision in the lineup to have (Inaudible) as a nickel corner on the outside, and secondly, how has he played so far?
DINO BABERS: He's played good. He's played well. He really plays both positions. It's not like he just plays one. A nickel is nothing more than a corner that's moved inside. So it's not like he's really playing a different position.

Q. Secondly, couple Friday night game this year. Syracuse has played several in the past few years. Obviously you prepare for every game the same, but Friday night versus Saturday, do you have a preference in which day to play?
DINO BABERS: I come from the MAC where we play games on Tuesday, Thursday and Wednesdays, so for me, I really don't have a preference.

Q. To follow up on last week's game, did that Middle Tennessee defense exposure things in your offense that you're like, okay, we need to correct this so if we face this kind of defense again we're better prepared this time or we know how to handle it this time?
DINO BABERS: No, they were a really good defense, and they had a really nice scheme. But the bottom line was we really made a lot of mistakes in that game. They weren't physical mistakes. Those were the things that upset coaches and we have to get that right. There were mental mistakes that were made where there were answers to the problems, and mentally, we didn't make the right decisions.

Q. I was hoping if you're willing, if you could share kind of what your thoughts and feelings stirred through you when you heard about the ugly letter Kevin Sumlin received, and whether throughout your own career if you ever experienced being undermined based on your skin color?
DINO BABERS: The one thing that I've always done, Nate, and I appreciate you bringing it up, is that I know that I'm a black guy, and I know that I'm a black coach, but to me it's more important to just be a coach. A coach is a universal name. You're a teacher, you're a father, and those are the things that are important. I just happen to be a black person that happens to be a coach. I think it's more important just to be a coach and not get caught up in all the racial part of that stuff.

Q. I'll ask one more on Central Michigan because I don't think you've been asked about the Chippewas at all this week, but last week you obviously had a high evaluation of stocks to the quarterback. Wondering how you'll evaluate or what is your assessment of Morris? And if you think he's also kind of an NFL-caliber guy? Also they transitioned to this up-tempo spread under a first-year coordinator. Do you feel you have enough tape, and how do you feel you'll match up against what they're doing offensively now this week?
DINO BABERS: I don't have enough tape to make an evaluation on that quarterback. I just started watching this week. Stockstill's had a nice, long evaluation. You got to see him play so much last year. Obviously the things he did last year in being on the NFL scout's list as a quarterback that they're looking at, you had more evaluation tape on him. This young man is talented. He can throw the football around obviously for what he did against Kansas, I think, 467 yards, that's an unbelievable number in a football game. And he happens to be left-handed just like the other young man was.

I don't believe he has the legs that Stockstill has, but he has more height and more big-game savvy. I believe he started the game for Michigan and they beat Notre Dame with him in the start. So this guy has a lot of experience. He's an older guy. He's not going to be intimidated by the environment, and I'm sure he's going to come out and play a really good game against us.

Q. You spent some time in the MAC playing against these MAC teams. Do you feel like you have an advantage because you were actually coaching at Bowling Green and played them almost every year?
DINO BABERS: This is a coincidence, I never got an opportunity to play Central Michigan when I was in the MAC. It's one of those rotation things and they were on the other side of the conference. I never got an opportunity to play them. So this will be our first time that we've ever matched up with each other.

Q. What do you guys have to do better this week than last week? What do you have to improve on?
DINO BABERS: I think we need to worry about ourselves and not worry about everything else that's going on. We need to get better as a family. We need to get better as a team. We need to be locked in mentally so we can do the things we need to do to give ourselves a chance to win.

Q. What is the impact of playing LSU primetime now and how does that affect recruiting?
DINO BABERS: I am not going to talk about LSU. We just got beaten by Middle Tennessee. I'm playing Central Michigan this weekend. I'd love to talk to you about LSU next weekend, Matthew.

Q. Are you concerned about Dungey being hit after the whistle is blown? He was hit several times last week even though he slid?
DINO BABERS: You know, the referees are taught to protect those young men out there and that's their job. I'm not going to get caught up in whether they do or they don't. It's their job to protect them. It's in their hands. I can't control that.

Q. Coach, looking at the first couple games as far as the rushing attack, I know you've utilized Moe Neal and Dontae Strickland and Markenzy Pierre and company as well as Chris Elmore. What can you say about your assessment of the rushing attack through the first couple games?
DINO BABERS: Obviously not where we want it to be. I think we're seeing some improvement, but we need to have a lot more.

Q. As far as utilizing Chris Elmore at that fullback position, moving forward, what can you say about him specifically and what he's been able to do as a true freshman? I know he's played on the defensive line coming into Syracuse. You moved him over to offense. What can you say about what dynamic he gives you offensively?
DINO BABERS: The biggest thing about Chris is that mentally it's not too big for him. He can handle a lot on his plate and still be mentally right on the football field. Then from a physical standpoint, there are guys bigger, stronger and faster, but I tell you what, that young man has a big heart and he enjoys the physicality of the game. If you get guys that are smart and they enjoy the physicality of the game with a big heart, you can normally find a spot for them out there on the football field.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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