Cardinal Authority: The Babers-era seems like it is off to a very good start. But from an insider perspective what’s the biggest difference with him leading the program?
McAllister: The biggest difference is a clear, definitive system that has proven success. The previous staff went through multiple offensive systems trying to find an identity. Dino Babers has one and is installing that at Syracuse. Part of that is the strength and conditioning program. They are already yielding some impressive results with body transformations. One example is defensive tackle Steven Clark shedding 30 pounds compared to last season. They've done things like remove soda from the player's lounge and replace it with milk. It's all part of the Dino Babers way.
CA: Is Dungey a dual-threat guy or will he do most of his damage this season with his arm? Seems like he has really matured and improved a lot since Louisville saw him in November.
McAllister: He's a dual threat. The staff wants him to use his legs as a weapon, but they want him to be smart about it in order to avoid big hits that could jeopardize his health. He ran several times in week one and is expected to continue to use his legs. Not necessarily with a lot of designed runs, but more so in scramble situations. Dungey is definitely thicker and more mature compared to last year.
CA: The offense wants to go fast we know that and can see that but do you think the pace can be even faster that against Colgate? We saw where Babers said that would be the slowest you see the offense. How can that be possible? lol
McAllister: Yes they can go faster. It doesn't seem possible but think about this. They were at 22.54 seconds per play in week one. At Bowling Green last year, they were two seconds per play faster. They also seemed to slow things down in the second half against Colgate. So yes, faster is definitely possible.
CA: Seems like the Orange have some weapons on offense. Ishmael did damage against Louisville last season but last week he wasn’t the main target. What’s the deal with the WRs and are they all really primary guys for Dungey.
McAllister: The deal is they finally have multiple weapons so they're able to spread the ball around. Amba Etta-Tawo has emerged as a speedy starter opposite Ishmael. Erv Philips and Brisly Estime are quality slot guys. Now Ishmael has some help. But he is still expected to be the number one guy throughout the season. Those four, however, are clearly the top options.
CA: What do you think the defense will try to do to keep Lamar Jackson contained? And who will be the main guy on defense to watch for Louisville fans.
McAllister: Syracuse will play their Tampa 2 where they rush with the four down linemen and play zone coverage. What they could do with Lamar Jackson is spy him with a linebacker. Jonathan Thomas or Parris Bennett would be the most likely candidate. As far as who to watch, Zaire Franklin, the starting middle linebacker, would be the most popular answer. But I'll give you someone else. Chris Slayton. Slayton started at defensive tackle last season and is starting at end this year. He can play both and will likely see snaps in both spots. He is athletic, quick and strong, and may be their best option to get into the backfield and be disruptive.