Syracuse Orange football recruiter George McDonald had a great year. He seemed to lead the charge on a great class-in-the-making, opening new doors for the program and getting high-quality guys to consider SU.
Syracuse Orange offensive coordinator George McDonald had a rough year. A very rough year. Replacing the high-octane offense that Nate Hackett (eventually) put together, McDonald had to watch as one quarterback melted down and another needed half a season to get his feet under him, all the while he himself learning the ins and outs of handling an offense on his own. It could not have been easy, but, no one ever said it was going to be.
Hell, sustaining a positive experience as a coordinator is damn near impossible, especially at a school like Syracuse, where you're going to run into teams simply more talented than you are. Hell, we only liked Nate Hackett for roughly six games his entire SU career. Out of, like, 25? And he's remembered fondly...
So take a guy and make him OC for a middle of the road talent squad, pair him with a defensive-minded head coach in his own first season and an untested, young quarterback. Well, you shouldn't set your expectations very high.
Unfortunately, that's not how college football works. We have expectations, whether we know we should or not. We demand excellence even when we know we're asking the impossible. We're fans. That's what we do.
So, when George McDonald's first season as Syracuse OC was disappointing, to say the least, we didn't like it. And we voiced that concern. And, well, George noticed:
"They're fans," George declared. "They've got the opportunity to say whatever they want. They pay good money to go to the games, and they want to win. They talk about Bill Belichick. They talk about every coach who doesn't win. It's just part of the deal.
"(Nathaniel) Hackett is one of my good friends. I remember when he called me and said they wanted to run him out of town. And when he left, they were begging him to stay. If I win enough or if we perform well enough, they'll all love me. If I don't, they'll all hate me. But you know that going in."
There's a certain undercurrent in McDonald's reaction (which is much more visceral in the video version) that is extreme frustration. Which is fine. He's human. It's allowed. I'd certainly be that annoyed if I had constantly had people telling me what a terrible job I was doing all the time. I'd look forward to the day when I could turn around and have my "Are You Not Entertained?" moment.
And so, here's McDonald's after the Boston College win, not afraid to let everyone know how he's feeling...
"You guys had me fired," McDonald said. "You guys had me as the dumbest coordinator ever. It is what it is. I read that stuff and it motivates me."
You guys are killing me, and have boxes in my office," McDonald said. "We're practiced that play for six weeks. If we don't get it, you guys don't like me."
"We're in a society where we want it all right now," McDonald said. "Eventually we're going to give Syracuse fans what they want. I wish they'd be more positive. At the end of the day, negativity may sell newspapers, but it doesn't sell Syracuse University. It doesn't sell the offense and it doesn't sell the defense."
I'm happy for McDonald, especially since that means things are good for Syracuse. But I also want to give him a little Han Solo-esque advice. Don't get cocky, kid. Everyone loves a coordinator only as much as his last game. Gloat only so much because it can all come crashing down in the next drive.
I just hope that McDonald doesn't think this is a Syracuse Fan thing. Because the truth is, we're tame. At least compared to Clemson or Florida State or any SEC school. You think we're scrutinizing you? You have no idea what scrutiny is.
We get upset with the play-calling because we care. Because we see the potential and we want to reach it. Not because we don't like McDonald or want him gone. I just hope George can keep that in mind. The last thing he should do is turn his SU career into a series of passive-aggressive outings determined by the outcome of each game. That'll get old real quick, for him and for us.
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