Football

Syracuse head coach Dino Babers looks back to 9/11, Texas A&M’s ‘special’ remembrance

Todd Michalek | Contributing Photographer

Babers shared a story from his time as quarterbacks coach at Texas A&M, where the Aggies honored the victims of 9/11 16 years ago.

UPDATED: Sept. 11, 2017 at 6:36 p.m.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Texas A&M head coach R. C. Slocum pulled his coaches out of their offices. Dino Babers, then the Aggies’ quarterbacks coach, and his colleagues, met with Slocum. Later that morning, they watched on TV as the second plane hit the World Trade Center.

“Your first thought is, ‘Oh my god, this is really serious,’” Babers said Monday morning.

“I thought guys would be activated, people deployed,” SU’s second-year head coach added. “Those were the thoughts going through my mind.”

The next day, Babers recalled, Texas A&M Athletics sent an email to all season ticket holders announcing that the next game, Sept. 22, would be played as scheduled. The school announced it would do something “special,” Babers said, which ended up being color-coded sections in red, white and blue.

About 80,000 fans packed Kyle Field in College Station, Texas, 16 years ago this month. The third deck was filled with red, the second with white and the first with all blue to honor the victims. About $180,000 was raised for the New York Fire and Police relief funds. At halftime, the Aggie band spelled out “U.S,A.” in front of a stadium glistening in red, white and blue.

“I’m like are they going to be able to do that?” Babers recalled saying when he heard each section would be color coded.

“Every veteran coach in there was like, you watch this, you watch this.”

“And on Saturday, that stadium was red, white and blue by sections.”

“That’s one of the things I remember about 9/11,” Babers said. “There are other things I’m not going to share.”

Other notes from Babers’ press conference Monday:

  • There are 19 players on Syracuse’s roster who grew up in Florida, where nearly 6 million people are without power due to Irma. Babers said he has been in touch with the players and their families are OK.
  • Babers on Saturday’s Carrier Dome weather: “The Dome must have been extremely hot. We had a lot of cramping on the other team slowing us down.”
  • When asked whether Syracuse’s offensive line can mature to run the ball effectively this year, Babers said, “I don’t have a crystal ball.”
  • Redshirt junior safety Antwan Cordy said Saturday that he’d be out until the Clemson game Oct. 13. Babers said he is not sure when Cordy will be back.

The story has been updated for appropriate style. 

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