This morning, Syracuse.com's Brent Axe posted an interview with Orange offensive coordinator George McDonald. Obviously, given this season's execution woes, it makes sense that fans would be looking to him for answers. For what it's worth, McDonald does here you guys (and me):
"I understand that as a fan you don't want to hear that," McDonald said while explaining his offense is working on getting better and needs time and reps to get there. "Nobody wants to hear that it's going to take time. That we're close. I don't want to hear it. I don't want to say it."
Thanks for listening, coach. So what are we doing about it, other than waiting?
"You just have to keep working and working until you get it to where it's supposed to be. But every night when you watch a sport, the winner get praised and the loser is not the smartest guy. It's a fact when you are a public figure. You can't really change the fans' opinion until the end of the season. That's when we are either good or not good. Right now, we're 2-2. We have made some good strides. We understand where we have to get better. We have a chance to go into the ACC 0-0 and really make some hay and get going in that fashion. I understand part of being a fan is being passionate. Part of wanting to cheer your team to victory and when you don't win, you have to live with the consequences."
... So we're just waiting? Or are we going to change things?
"No, the hardest thing is to keep doing what you are doing."
"When you get frustrated, you are always looking to change something. Really, the simplistic thing is not to do what you are doing in terms of what hasn't worked and keep doing it, but if it's working and we're jumping off sides or we didn't do this, let's fix a small element for the greater whole."
Okay, I'm still unclear here. Are we changing or not?
"...But there is a lot of things we are doing really good. That we just have to tighten up some things. I'm not a big change for change sake, but I understand that if something isn't working I'm going to change it."
Okay, so we're sort of changing.
McDonald went on to explain that a big issue was with the snap cadence, and that it was more of a guessing game before, which was causing the false starts. My question: has it been causing the false starts for the past decade? Because this has been happening for a decade. I'm looking forward to seeing how things change with Terrel Hunt's cadence going forward, though, and how that may affect the offense's ability to avoid these back-breaking mental errors.
Am I being too harsh on George? Are we ALL being too harsh on George? I'm unsure. On the one hand, this can't happen again. On the other, we're 17 games in and the same issues are recurring, if not increasing in frequency. Yes, this offense certainly runs better than it did last year, but if we're not getting into the end zone, does that matter? The answering is a resounding "NO!" Syracuse fans don't want to undermine Coach McDonald. We're simply wondering why things are happening the way they are. Penalties are one thing, I guess. That doesn't explain away the questionable decision-making, red zone struggles and bubble screen issues, though.
So in conclusion, George McDonald hears your complaints. He may not be on the way to fixing a large majority of the problems contained within those complaints. But he hears what you're saying and will eventually get around to addressing all of those problems if you just give it time.
We're happy to give you time, Coach. And we wish you only success in getting things straight with this Syracuse offense. But like anything you're told to wait for, if there's no timetable set, you just get antsier and antsier each week it doesn't happen. We're trying to have patience, really. It's just getting more and more difficult.