The Post Standard linked an Otto's Army piece by Dave Cooperman titled The End Is Near For Doug Marrone. Take a second to read it. My first thought was not as to Doug's job security (because he has done nothing to make me question it at this time) but rather what clown would write this? For a blog that is
supposed to represent the student fan base? written by members of the class of 2003 and 2006 and has no affiliation with the Student Section. (And all the while without linking anything in his story.) I tried to google him, but the only David Cooperman I found was a comedian, and it cant be the same guy because none of Dave Cooperman's writing is funny.
Doug is the right guy for this job. It is not an easy job or a coveted job. The difference between Doug and everyone else, is that Doug wants to be at this school. I dont think there is another coach out there that wouldnt bolt after a 9 or 10 win season. Doug is in it for the long haul. He has a plan and thats more than you can say about his predecessor. Syracuse is not Auburn where you walk into a program with top 10 talent. Its not even a fixer-upper, its a total tear down and rebuild.
And who should we have hired instead? Turner Gill? Already fired by Kansas. Mike Locksley? Went 2-26 before getting fired. And those guys didnt want this job! Skip Holtz turned us down for USF. Even one of our own, Randy Edsall wouldnt leave UConn for SU.... but he would for Maryland. (by the way, he hasnt been doing too well either going 2-10). A guy who was fired for locking a player in a dark shed? Nancy would never have signed off on that. Another NFL coordinator? What makes you think any of them would have been better than Doug? Certainly none of them would have shared his passion or loyalty. We are not getting a top coach at SU. Not for the money we pay or the support we give them. Its not a desirable position. We are either going to get a retread or an up and comer. Were not going to find someone with the Midas touch. We need consistency and stability.
The Syracuse job is a thankless job and a no win situation. We are a [basketball] school that expects 10 win seasons with only MAC level support. We do not have 10 win facilities, 10 recent history or 10 win grads in the NFL. Any reputable NFL guys are either retired or in the twilight of their careers. Consider this, where other schools are building field houses and practice facilities, we are converting a court used by the volleyball team into a 60 yard practice field. What type of commitment to the team does that show? We cant even put ribbon boards in The Dome, a facility that is essentially the same as it was 25 years ago. Recruits notice these things.
Speaking of recruits, prior to the incoming 2012 class, none of these kids ever saw SU win a bowl game during the period of there lives when they were playing organized football. They never saw a winning season. These are the kids who thought "why should I should I pay to go see a movie about Syracuse? They suck."
Syracuse is never going to be a top recruiter. Our academics are challenging. Its terrible geographically. We have a ton of other schools around us competing for the same kids. We have built a legacy on finding diamonds in the rough and mining for talent. Doug took that to a new level with his first classes. Those kids had no reason to believe in SU besides Doug. They didnt come here to be part of a winner, because they had never seen SU win. Not to go to a school with a packed stadium, because our fans dont turn out. Not to train in the most cutting edge facilities because they are practicing in a building John Thompson declared "closed" almost 30 years ago. Now take a look at the 2012 class. Those kids committed as soon as they got offers. We actually got our top choice kids fresh off a bowl win. But we wont see the true rewards of that game until August.
Doug should not be compared to GRob in recruiting at any time. Firstly, most recruiting is done by assistants and I have personally talked to one of GRob's former assistants who had some horror stories. For instance Greg did not go on the recruiting trail. He was of the opinion that he was the closer and it was up to the assistants to make the house calls. He though of himself as "a closer." Any credit for those guys should go to his assistants. This is also the guy who lost Ray Rice and passed on Knowshon Moreno. And how did his 4 star guys turn out? MOST coaches are better evaluators of talent than recruiting services. Greg was not.
Doug is very respected in the coaching community because of what he has done with so little. When he took over we had the smallest, slowest and weakest athletes since the program started keeping statistics. A walk on was our starting QB. We had almost no one on our OL and no LBs. Consider what Greg did with a sure thing in Andrew Robinson, and what Doug has done with an after thought QB in Ryan Nassib. Type his name into google. The first suggestion is "Ryan Nassib NFL." Doug Hogue was a 3rd string RB. Doug and his staff turned him into a 4th round draft pick.
No one nationally thought we were better than a 7 win team. The homers thought we would go 8-4. Guys on this site were predicting 6-6. 5-7 was thrown out there a lot. Sean called for us to blow out a team we shouldnt beat, and to drop one to a team we should beat. We did that. And Id argue that if you traded the UConn result for the WVU result this season would have played out EXACTLY as the experts predicted it. Even the homers from out own paper.
We didnt regress as a program and our coaches didnt forget everything they knew when we beat KSU. Its college football. There was a lot of turnover. People saw this and expected it. We graduated key defensive players at corner and DT which has forced us into playing much more zone. We also graduated our starting center and our power back. Now we are using a 3rd down back every down and starting a long snapper at center.
The incarnation of SU football we see now is not what Doug plans on doing in the next few years. Kinder, Hunt and Broyld are all dual threat QBs. The backs he has brought in are big strong guys. The OL looks big and mean. And the WRs starting 2 years from now are burners. Expect less mid range crossing routes to possession receivers and screens to the back, and more read option, roll out and deep balls to WRs that can blow the lid off a D.
I know youre young and youre used to seeing winners on ESPN, but if you want to enjoy being a Syracuse fan, learn to temper your expectations and let the team surprise you once in a while.