Babers: If you want it shorter, mark the ball and get the heck out of the way

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Thursday July 13, 2017

Dino Babers says that if people want to speed up college football games, make the officials move faster.

As game time has increased, in part due to up-tempo offenses that run more plays, the NCAA has begun looking at ways to cut the time back. Asked about the pace of his offense (80.9 plays per game last year) at ACC Media Days, Babers gave his input.

“I know we’re having an issue with football games being too long, and they’re talking about shortening halftime, kicking the ball off when it hits zero to make sure the game shortens,” he said. “I know another way they can shorten up the game is if the official just marks the ball and gets the heck out of the way, we could speed that game a whole lot and make the game a whole lot shorter."

A year ago, Bobby Petrino caused a little stir when he said Syracuse was snapping the ball against Colgate before the down markers were set.

Expect Syracuse’s offense to be even faster this year. Babers has said last year was like watching paint dry, and his teams really start to get things midway through his second season. He went from 7-5 to 12-2 at Eastern Illinois and 8-6 to 10-3 at Bowling Green. Now he’s coming off a 4-8 season that saw Syracuse at 90th in scoring.

Second year, game four, everywhere I’ve been, that’s when the light bulb goes on,” he said. “I don’t know why. It’s somewhere around there, plus or minus two. Somewhere in the middle of the second year, they get it.

“What it is, I don’t know, but that’s normally what happens, and the team and things start to change. I’m all for that happening this year, somewhere around game four.

In an offense like Babers’, it always comes down to the quarterback, and he’s got a experienced one in Eric Dungey. The junior has started 16 games in his career, but missed the last three last year due to injury.

“(The offense) is not a Ford Pinto. It is a racing car,” Babers said. “I know Ford doesn’t make the Pinto anymore, but when I was in high school, I drove a Ford Pinto, hatchback, baby blue. But he’s not driving a Pinto. He’s driving a racing car. We go around corners, the tires need to sing. That’s the way we handle our offense.

“He’s an extension of the coaching staff, and if you’re not ready for that responsibility, you probably need to go play quarterback somewhere else, because it’s a big-time job for a big-time individual. If you can handle it, good things will happen to you. Just ask the people before him.”

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to