From The Far Reaches Of The Mind: On Syracuse Football & Doug Marrone

Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

It's been four months, but ever since his departure from Syracuse Doug Marrone continues to tinker with his legacy.

We all have that part of the brain, either somewhere on the left or right, but most certainly in the far back, that you really can't control. Weird thoughts, fantasies, general "junk" is stored up there. If it were to ever get out, you would be shunned for being a weirdo.

And at the risk of being excommunicated from the 'Cuse Community, I'm going to let you into my back brain world. Because that voice back there is getting louder and louder.

It was January, Doug Marrone looking more like Jenna Maroney trying to get the next big part. Still, I was legitimately excited. Dick MacPherson was the last Syracuse coach to get any National Football League love, a time well before the internet. So when Coach Mac left for New England it went from rumor to real in about two hours. This time, although a quick process too, Marrone's name being mentioned by the Adam Schefters of the world for a few days was flat-out cool. It was like Syracuse had come full-circle. From doormat under Greg Robinson to winning bowl games and having coaches' names splattered all over ESPN.

But in the back of my mind, the part that knew better but persisted:

Marrone said Syracuse was his dream job! How in the world could you turn and run after just four years? Plus, from most reports it seemed like Marrone was the one calling the NFL, at least to start. He wanted out and he wanted out right then and there. Kind of a slap in the face, no?

Again, I know better. Marrone to the NFL, however it happened, was a massive promotion -- dreams change, life changes. Marrone realized more was attainable, he may have realized Syracuse wasn't the be-all end-all, probably for a lot of reasons (dealing with administration among them). And not to mention; the guy completely changed a culture in a handful of years.

Mission accomplished, Mr. Marrone. God's speed.

But in the recesses:

Marrone, knowing what kind of job Syracuse is, knowing the fragile ecosystem that still exists, takes practically his entire coaching staff to Buffalo with him!? Even the guys who were mostly just college recruiters? That's cold. And it meant more change for Syracuse football, something the guy leaving was supposed to stop.

Of course, I reminded myself, like you may have, Marrone probably wanted to go to the NFL battle with guys he knows and trusts. Plus, it's Marrone's prerogative to hire who he wants -- regardless of where they come from, even if they are leaving Syracuse a program in transition, again.

Then the NFL draft buzz went full roar. Marrone and Ryan Nassib together again; Marrone and Syracuse together again. Every "draft expert" linked Buffalo to Syracuse's former quarterback in way or another. Would the Bills, a team in need of a QB, take Nassib early in the first round or wait a little while and take him? I'm an Eagles fan but I was way more interested in what Buffalo was doing.

And, all the while hearing the rumors of his and Nassib's impending reunion, Marrone was falling in love with Florida State's E.J. Manuel. Marrone took that quarterback early in the first, he took one that was rated below Geno Smith, below Matt Barkley,...below Ryan Nassib.

Rumors or not, Nassib was never a first round talent, no matter the unique situation that surrounded his "involvement" with the Bills. The truth is, Nassib is probably better off in New York with the Giants -- learning from Eli Manning and biding time until he gets a chance to show his worth. Marrone had to do what he thought was best, not worry about former players.

Plus, Marrone told Sports Illustrated's Peter King he was worried, that his heart was hurting as teams continued to pass on Nassib during the first three plus rounds of the draft.

Wait, let's not just throw away the fact Marrone passed on Nassib twice. A shocking turn of events for Syracuse players! If Marrone felt so comfortable with his coaching staff from Syracuse he brought them to Buffalo, why wouldn't he bring the quarterback who helped him get to the NFL, too? And what about Marrone passing on Shamarko Thomas? Judging from the draft, as someone pointed out on Twitter (every part of my brain has forgotten who), it sure looks like Marrone thought Syracuse overachieved recently.

Which is lunacy! Trying to decipher Marrone's thoughts on Syracuse via a draft. Ridiculous.

But maybe it's not just the draft, not just the flirting with the NFL, not just the taking everyone with him to Buffalo -- save the players he could actually, you know, take with him. Maybe it's everything, altogether, that should be taken into account, throught about by the entire brain.

OK, but Marrone will never be reviled in Syracuse. He will never be looked down upon. He is no Greg Robinson. But at the same time, with the Simmons, with the Boeheims, hell, even Coach Mac, who left but never really did, all roaming Central New York, Doug Marrone will never really be Syracuse. Not really anyway.

Which ultimately, I guess, doesn't matter. He came, he conquered, he left. What more can anyone really expect?

Still, I can't figure out what to make of Doug Marrone and his time in Syracuse.

And I probably never will.

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