SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) — Tony White will be the new defensive coordinator at Syracuse.
Orange coach Dino Babers declined to discuss the vacancy on his staff when asked during a signing day news conference on Wednesday, but Arizona State made the announcement on Tuesday night in a release naming Marvin Lewis and Antonio Pierce as co-defensive coordinators for 2020. The school said the two would “fill the role left by previous defensive coordinator Tony White, who assumed the same position at Syracuse University.”
White confirmed on an Arizona radio show that he would take the Syracuse job. He said it was a “last-second decision” that would allow him to be closer to his mother, who lives in New York City.
The position at Syracuse has been open since Zach Arnett accepted it in January and then changed his mind and took the same position at Mississippi State. Both Arnett and White were on Rocky Long's staff at San Diego State, which uses a 3-3-5 defensive scheme that Babers is ready to embrace as he begins his fifth season with the Orange.
“It’s different. It’s unique. It’s aggressive," Babers said. "I think that style might be able to deliver exactly what the fans and student body want. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be successful, but I am ready to go down that road. I’m ready to embrace it. We want to be aggressive in all three phases. We want to win games instead of playing them not to lose.”
Babers fired defensive coordinator Brian Ward, whose 4-3 scheme produced a significant number of turnovers in the last two seasons but allowed too many yards and too many points. Ward lost the job in November after Boston College torched the Orange for 691 yards offensively, a school record and 496 of it on the ground, the most ever allowed by Syracuse, which finished at 5-7.
Before White took the job at Arizona State as defensive backs coach two years ago, the team ranked near the bottom of the Bowl Subdivision in scoring defense. Last season the Sun Devils finished 35th nationally, allowing just 22.4 points per game, and he was promoted to defensive coordinator in December.
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