As we know, Shane Raupers left the team yesterday, bringing the total number of players to leave the program to 18. That's way more than Tennessee, where Lane Kiffin has gotten grief for the turnover. Syracuse.com even put together a handy-dandy scorecard to keep track of all the changes since the spring. While most of the turnover came from Greg Robinson guys (whether that label is warranted or not), now players that were recruited under Doug Marrone's watch are dropping out of camp at a suspect rate.
Doug Marrone has noticed the concern that's bubbled up around this situation and he wants to make sure that those who believe he's the problem know...they're wrong.
"It does offend me if people think we're running people off. It really does. Because anyone that knows me, anyone knows what my philosophy is - my philosophy is always develop the person first before you develop the player...
I'II try to encourage our players and do the best I can to make sure they're ready for life and I encourage them to stay and be the best they can be...
It's disappointing when people leave the program because I know the ones that stay will be successful. I really do. People leave for different reasons. That's why I don't comment on each one of them. It's disappointing to me when that happens. I think the way we run our program, we can make a difference in someone's life."
As for the kicking situation, the ball is in walk-on Ryan Lichtenstein's hands now.
"I told Ryan Lichtenstein, here you go. You're the guy. Let's go and play," Marrone said.
Punter Rob Long will also be getting some reps at placekicking, though it sounds like everyone expect Lichtenstein to step up and take the job.
Donnie Webb, who wrote a glowing article of Raupers just days earlier, does make a good point about Raupers as he walks away from camp...assuming he left because he couldn't hack it.
I'm stunned he's gone. At the same time, if he couldn't handle the pressure of camp, doesn't that make you a little nervous about him handling the pressure against Minnesota, or Penn State, or Northwestern?
Believe it or not, there are actually players out there not currently on the roster who WANT to join Syracuse football. Donnie reports that DB Rishard Anderson has solved his NCAA Clearinghouse eligibility issues and will report to practice ASAP. Let's make sure he gets through the first week before we do any backflips.
So how bout Greg Paulus? Now that the decision is final we can finally get some feedback from Tremendous himself on why he made the decision now.
I think in the last couple days there has been some separation. I feel that Greg is the player who we can win with right now...I think Greg Paulus is going to go out there for us and win football games right now...We can give Greg more reps now and I'm excited about that. I've always said that as soon as you see separation you can make a decision and then you can get that player ready to play...Greg isn't a polished, finished product right now. We're still working on getting him better, as we are with all our quarterbacks."
Marrone scoffed at the idea this was a move based on ticket sales or publicity, and I have to believe that it didn't play a part either. This guy's got too much riding on success at the QB position to leave it up to marketing. As for how he made the decision to the parties involved...he did it just like he said he would:
Marrone said he told offensive coordinator Rob Spence first of his decision. Then he called Paulus and Nassib into his office and explained his decision to both. From there, Marrone told the team. Then he put out a release Monday night at 10 announcing his decision.
Donnie Webb checks in with a couple more brief updates from practice today. The O-line is shifting again as Ryan Bartholmew is out with an apparent concussion. Rob Long continues to look like the Team MVP he's going to have to be, booming kicks all over the place. And...my God...that's...that's Lavar Lodbell's music! The former starter-now-third stringer is improving. Whether he can break through to get some PT...well...we shall see.