These truly are SUrreal times, my friends. In a 24 hour span Syracuse football became an off-the-field spectacle
the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time. Two events that would have been top stories had they happened on separate days hit at once. First, Doug Marrone's impassioned and emotional defense of Greg Paulus and the press conference antics that followed. Second, our star player abruptly quitting for no discernible reason that makes sense. All we needed was for a Syracuse athlete to open a hookah bar and this site might have spontaneously combusted.
Brent Axe applauds Doug Marrone for having his QB's back but wonders...is he the only player who's back he's protecting?
Some fans are under the impression that a speech like that will make his players believe in him even more and is a clear message to recruits about what kind of coach they would be playing for.
Maybe so, but let me tell you what I see and hear in that speech. Marrone feels that way about Greg Paulus...and Greg Paulus alone. There is no way you can have that kind of fierce loyalty and love to every one of your players. Marrone says it himself...
"I have never seen an athlete, at any level including the NFL, work as hard, mentally and physically, as Greg has worked since he's joined us here at Syracuse."
Says it all right there.
Axe makes a fair point...how does Ryan Nassib react to this speech? How does he feel about hearing that Paulus is the hardest worker and fiercest competitor that Marrone has ever seen? Especially knowing that Nassib still has three years to go and will be challenged by incoming Marrone recruits.
As for Mike Williams, there's been plenty of rumor but nothing concrete. Some say that Williams was going to be suspended for a weekend incident so he struck preemptively. Some say Williams and Marrone had a huge blowout. Others are saying that Williams might actually be coming back to the team after all.
One person in particular is very anxious to find out what's going on. Williams' high school coach, Tony Truilizio, has his ideas on what happened but things still don't seem to add up.
Several times since his return Williams expressed joy at being back at Syracuse and pledged his commitment to complete his undergraduate degree. Last month, Williams reiterated his plans to use his final season of eligibility in 2010 to play for the Orange as opposed to entering the NFL Draft.
Riverside high school football coach Tony Truilizio said he believes Williams was about a semester short of completing his degree and was shocked by Marrone’s announcement. He said he tried to call Williams but was unsuccessful.
"Something doesn’t sound right," he said.
Bill Russell, an assistant coach at Williams' high school and a mentor to Mike was even more shocked.
"I didn’t see this coming," Russell said. "This caught me off-guard."
"It’s a baffling situation. We don’t know exactly what happened here. We’re still trying to find out. I don’t really know what to say. I’m still waiting to see how this plays out."
Sounds like we'll find out something, anything, soon. In the meantime, whatever Doug Marrone gets paid...he's working for it this week.