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Syracuse Football: Being Scott Shafer

Wearing his emotions on his sleeve, Scott Shafer is almost the "Anti-Coach." A leader of a program not afraid to just be himself.

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Dabo Swinney and Scott Shafer exchanging pleasantries during a brief exchange seconds after Swinney's Tigers dismembered Shafer's Orange. Coaches embrace for a moment after every game -- there's nothing new or strange in that picture above. Just part of the duties of being head coach.

Except of course, Swinney and Shafer met at midfield just a short time after the Syracuse Orange head man...



shouted from his sideline to the other. F-bombs heaved like grenades from the foxhole. (Which seems perfect given Shafer's arm movements.)

It's the Scott Shafer we've all gotten accustomed to, isn't it? Not just the emotional outburst. No, I'm talking about the whole package. The letting go followed by the collecting himself in time to say, "Good luck this year, Coach."

Really, Shafer handles himself the exact way most of us would if we were charged with leading Syracuse University football. You'd probably picture yourself something like Nick Saban, right? (I mean, a better looking version, of course.) Always composed and always in control. All business all the time. The guy that acts like he's been there and done that because he's been there and done that, a few times. Sure, he's hated, but he's a calm, cool winner.

Yet in reality we'd show our warts. Screaming at other coaches? Oh yeah. Maybe throwing some visors even. Generally losing our minds during a game. Then the second it was over, we'd most likely get it together in time for post-game festivities.

And that's what's so endearing about Scott Shafer. Where someone like Nick Saban doesn't seem human, Shafer seems almost too human. Mr. "Every Man" going all-in all the time. Up to the sky one minute and down to the ground on hands and knees the next. Much the way the rest of the world rides the emotional roller coaster through the good and the bad.

Shafer's swearing at Swinney was definitely the bad -- no matter how relatable it was. Still, the good showed itself in a big way on Saturday following Syracuse's comeback from the dead win against Boston College.

Sean summed up Shafer's post-game presser from Saturday perfectly:

Look, I can transcribe Scott Shafer's presser following the Syracuse Orange's 34-31 victory over the Boston College Eagles. But that would rob you of the opportunity to enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed. So just go watch it, cause it's all kinds of Scott Shafer awesome.

But I can't help myself. A lot like Shafer, actually. I mean, just look at how he opened up the conference Saturday evening, without a single question being asked of him.

"When I first got the job here I talked about character and what I lie the most about this senior class is their character. Going into this game we're seven points shy of having two more victories and if we do that everyone's happy around here, but we didn't do it. We came up short. Today it was a war, it was a war about character. I loved the crowd. I love Syracuse. You criticize the ones who don't show up but you need to give the ones who do show up credit. That's what I'd like to say first and foremost. I credit our fans for helping us win that game today because when it got down to crunch time that thing got loud out there and that helped us win this game."

Shafer knew the score of the season, he'd heard all the badmouthing surrounding the fans, and he wanted to use his platform to say, Told you so. Not in a vindictive way, mind you, but in as a way of saying, We won this game despite what everyone else thinks or says or writes.

Shafer then proceeded to name just about everyone on his team, gushing about each player rattled off. Hell, when asked about Terrel Hunt's late game interception, the Syracuse head coach started his response by proclaiming his pride for Elsa and Wolfgang, his children, followed by comparing every player to his family. And he means it.

That video is really fascinating to me. Rambling all the while breathing a little heavy, pausing at times to catch himself, still overcome with emotion. Completely genuine.

Which is probably the best way to summarize Head Coach Scott Shafer. I certainly don't know him and I'm certainly not his friend. But over the last year, from his introduction as coach to Saturday's speech after climbing the mountain to get to six wins, we've come to know there's nothing fake about him. As that GIF and YouTube video most certainly confirm.

Basically, through the embarrassing moments as well as amazing memories, we've learned he coaches with his gut and his heart just the same as with his brain. Like the way many of us would want to if we were coach. But lucky for us, that's Shafer's job and he's pretty good at it.