Dino Babers: Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader will open training camp ‘on a pitch count’

Syracuse, N.Y. — Syracuse football coach Dino Babers said quarterback Garrett Shrader will open training camp “on a pitch count” as he recovers from offseason surgery on the elbow of his throwing arm.
Babers noted Shrader’s limitations during a press conference before the team holds its first practice on Wednesday. Babers brought up the subject himself so that those limitations don’t cause unnecessary concern, he said.
Shrader will participate in practice but is likely to step out of certain drills, Babers said.
“On Garrett now, we’ve got to put him on a pitch count,” Babers said. “There will be times when he’s going through practice and all of a sudden, boom, he’ll be out of practice. Hopefully it’ll just be us being cautious with him and not anything else. Don’t read into that unless you’re asking a question directly. I’ll tell you right now, if it’s an injury, you’ll probably know about it.”
The quarterback said last week he’s optimistic the surgery will fix a “chronic” issue that has been present during both of his seasons at SU. He last week he’s still rehabbing.
The quarterback’s health will likely be critical to SU’s hopes this year.
Without star offensive players Sean Tucker and Matthew Bergeron this season, the Orange offense is likely to be more reliant than ever on Shrader’s ability to move the ball through the air and via his running.
The quarterback has received substantial respect this offseason, appearing on the watch list for college football’s Maxwell Award and being named by Florida State linebacker Kalen DeLoach as the ACC’s top offensive player (not including teammates) in an article on The Athletic.
In addition to the update on Shrader, Babers said:
- At least one Syracuse player has been injured since the end of spring practice and will be unavailable during the team’s first practice on Wednesday. Babers declined to name the player. Wednesday’s practice is open to reporters, so it should be obvious soon. Stay tuned.
- Babers took the news that Syracuse was selected 10th in the ACC’s preseason media poll on Wednesday in stride, saying media polls haven’t done a very good job predicting his team’s performance over his seven years.
- Babers said he believes building depth and winning football games at Syracuse has become more difficult thanks to the ability of athletes to be paid through name, image and likeness agreements and the loosening of restrictions on transfers. Babers’ teams have often started strong and finished slowly as injury attrition has set in. When asked if he believed his team’s depth was better or worse than previous seasons, Babers said he’d have a better idea at the end of training camp.
- Babers compared conversations with 73-year-old defensive coordinator Rocky Long to those with former SU men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim. “He’s extremely quick with his answers. Talking to him is like talking to Coach Boeheim. If you ask him a question, you get an answer. If you don’t have another question then the conversation is over. He’s direct and surgical and there’s not a lot of flip-flopping around.”
- Babers appeared relaxed entering a critical season, making his customary movie references and insisting that training camp, for him, is as nerve-racking as anyone else who is simply returning to their job. Babers did not receive a contract extension last offseason despite Syracuse making a bowl game, and his future at SU could depend on his team’s performance this year. Babers pointed out that back-to-back winning seasons at Syracuse have been rare in recent years. The last time it happened was in 2012 and 2013, the last season for Syracuse under Doug Marrone and the first under Scott Shafer. The last time a single coach accomplished it was Paul Pasqualoni in 2000 and 2001.

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