Only two teams in the entire country gave up more sacks than Syracuse in 2020.
The Orange gave up well over three sacks per game on their way to a 1-10 record, the worst to date under head coach Dino Babers.
However, Babers attributes a lot of the team's pass protection issues to injuries, many of which happened away from the field.
"I think the first thing is we need is to call it exactly what it is," Babers said at the ACC Kickoff. "We had major injuries, domino effect of injuries in the offensive line. Most of them not on the football field. Most of them happening walking around campus. Just fluke things."
Things got so bad for the Orange along the offensive line that Babers had to move his fullback to guard.
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"When you're playing nine football games with your fullback playing guard, so that you can be one of, I believe, two ACC teams that played every entire game, never had a stoppage because of COVID in their program, you're going to have some difficulties."
Injuries or not, Babers is adamant that his team improve when it comes to protecting the quarterback. At the same time, he's proud of the effort his players put in last season during some challenging times.
"Now, we're not happy with those numbers," Babers said. "There's no doubt about that. That needs to change. But when you talk about the effort that that offensive line put in, and the people who were unselfish, Chris Elmore, other people who changed positions to give us the best opportunity we could to keep those guys upright, to keep us functioning, I really do appreciate their efforts."
Babers brought in Mike Schmidt as the team's new offensive line coach and is hopeful that his addition, along with being healthy, will help produce better results in the coming season.
"We've had some changes," Babers said. "We've got some different coaches at some different positions. But I think the main difference is going to be that those guys are healthy, and we're not going to be having a rotation of a bunch of young guys in there with some older guys. We'll have an older group, and they'll are ready to be. It always starts with the O-line and it always starts with the defensive line. You can't be good in football if you're not good at those two positions."
"Hopefully we've got the health that we need to have the season that we want."
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