We all know that 2013 just became a pretty damn big year in the scheme of Syracuse football.
There are expectations. There are changes. There is now the looming cloud of uncertainty surrounding everyone from the top down on the quick hiring of the successor to what many view as a savior.
Syracuse Football 2013 now is going to have a monumental leadership void. A new head coach with a new offensive coordinator (Side note: enjoy those 3rd and goal swing plays Buffalo) is now expected to replace a four year starting, NFL first round draft pick quarterback, two fringe NFL wideouts while working with an offensive line who's glue went to the NFL and needs to block for a decent 1,000 yard rusher expected to carry the offense. Oh, all of these boys will probably be learning a new system.
Listen, maybe I'm being melodramatic here (wouldn't be the first time) but Joe Biden and I both share the opinion on the 2013 season: It's a big F'in deal.
I'm big into hypotheticals when we all have a good grasp on the players. We all assumed under Marrone, the Orange in the ACC would have the same expectations as this season- 5-7 to 7-5. IMMEDIATELY after the Pinstripe Bowl, I'd say we were all gunning for a bowl. I see no harm in that.
Now, minus Marrone and Hackett, should these expectations change? The outsider, looking at all things objectively says yes. New blood in at every key position means adaptation. Adaptation means struggles. Struggles mean losing games you probably should have won. Losing means no bowl.
But here's the thing: Gross acted so quickly to promote from within to PREVENT all of that above. He felt that keeping Schafer was the better than going through an outsider morphing his program.
And therein lies my worry. Like Matt, I fear that going too status quo may inevitably lead to stagnation rather than growth.
I can go through a plethora of examples and analogies, but the reality of this situation is simple: Doug Marrone was given helm of a sinking ship and told to fix it by the man who gave the reins over to ship sinker. Now, the same man who screwed up the first time has a much more delicate ship and must pass it on. AKA, do we trust Dr. Daryl Gross?
The football game is changing rapidly, both on and off the field and for the last decade, it's felt as if Syracuse was always two steps two slow.
That my friends is where I worry.
Yes, Dr. Gross has done wonders for our women's and olympic sports. Yes, he did champion the Melo Center and the new Football facilites but attendance is still going down for Football, the funds aren't good and a source told me that without the Pinstripe Bowl prize money, the football program was in danger of staying in the red ink.
Football has to be lifeblood of a modern collegiate program if they want to play on the big boy level. Syracuse is lucky that basketball attendance is like a small football game and recent success is keeping things afloat.
HCDM came in with a coaching staff who brought in recruits who wanted to learn from this staff. The big reason every current player came to Syracuse was because they felt either/and Marrone was taking the program to a new level and they wanted on or they wanted to work with what they viewed the most experienced and devoted coaching staff they'd met. And now that's gone. The other things that recruits like aren't here yet either.
Therefore, Shafer needs to basically be Marrone 2.0. Gross needed to have hit that savior lottery in less than a week. Anyone else see why I'm more than a tad worried.
From here on out, Syracuse runs the risk of watching the football program fall into the Duke status of the ACC with more seats in an empty stadium. We're nowhere near being a Miami or Florida State, but why can't we be a Virginia Tech or Clemson?
The cloud of uncertainty is grayer than ever and I'm worried Gross' high beams are blinding him from navigating Syracuse ship to where it could potentially be.