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Syracuse Football: Does It Start With Marrone Or The Players?

The Daily Orange debates who's fault it is that Syracuse football is struggling. Doug Marrone or the players. The truth is, it doesn't matter who's to blame because it's Doug Marrone's job.


"It starts with me. I need to do a better job."

Syracuse Orange football coach Doug Marrone has uttered those two sentences so much in the past two seasons that they have become his mantra. It's at the point where if you asked Doug how he felt about the American economy, he would mention not his concerns about the exporting of jobs or high taxes but instead say, "It starts with me. I need to do a better job."

And so, since you continue to bring it up, it continues to be a question worth asking. Is Doug Marrone to blame for the woes of Syracuse football?

The quick answer is yes. Doug Marrone will receive all of the credit when Syracuse goes 14-0 and wins the National Title in 2016, so conversely he deserves the blame when the program loses. That's how it works.

Doesn't matter if he or she didn't physically do it, the CEO is always responsible for the state of their company. The President is always responsible for what happens under their watch. Whether or not they're the one that pressed the wrong button is irrelevant.

If you've been paying attention the Presidential debates, that much has to be clear to you. If you were in charge, it's your fault.

Of course, a lot of folks have rightly mentioned that Marrone isn't the one fumbling out there. Or throwing interceptions. Or botching punt returns. Or missing field goals. Players have to perform and the best gameplan in the world means nothing if the person carrying the football just can't complete the task.

The Daily Orange decided to do a little He Said/He Said today, with Michael Cohen saying that it is, in fact, all Doug Marrone's fault, while Chris Iseman says it's the players who bear the biggest responsibility.

I'd love to say that they've gone scorched Earth here but the truth is, regardless of which column you side with, they're both right. It is the players' faults that they keep making mistakes and it is also Marrone's fault that players keep making mistakes under his watch.

Unfortunately for Marrone, he probably ends up taking the bigger brunt thanks to one of his players, Deon Goggins (whom I don't think meant to throw his coach under the bus, but, kinda did):

"It starts with the head man, and he feels like that so it’s only right," Syracuse defensive tackle Deon Goggins said. "It’s his team. We’re a resemblance of him, if that’s how you want to put it."

Of course, Goggins is also a member of the defensive line, which, is probably the best unit on the team right now. So in that sense, the reflection on Marrone and Tim Daoust is a good one.

But what are the two aspects of Syracuse football that are failing right now? The overall team and the special teams unit. Both of those things are 100% on Marrone.

Greg Robinson wasn't one to take blame. He would instead try to talk about all of the good things he saw in his team's 30-point loss and attempt to convince us (unsuccessfully) that success was right around the corner. To his last day, Greggers still thought he was a game or two away from turning it all around (or at least said so).

Robinson was a dreamer. Marrone, on the other hand, is a realist. He talks about the here and now and in the here and now, Syracuse football is struggling mightily. Maybe not doing as poorly as his predecessor but struggling all the same. Like Robinson, he spends the post-game pressers saying the same things over and over and, like Robinson, everyone's tired of hearing about it.

That's the lesson and the thing that binds both of them. They've both taught us that words are meaningless in football. Talk is, as the saying goes, cheap. Win football games. Everything else is just the same old story we've heard before.

So while, yes, the players do need to do a better job, Doug Marrone is the only one whose professional job is on the line. So it really doesn't matter who you think is to blame, because Marrone is the only one who is going to suffer for it if Syracuse continues to lose.