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Syracuse Football: Scott Shafer Shares Thoughts on George McDonald Situation

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There's a lot going on with Syracuse football, and plenty of questions were asked on this week's ACC Coaches Teleconference...

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, Scott Shafer gets some time on the ACC Coaches Teleconference. Typically, it's just your run-of-the-mill stuff, but due to a certain former offensive coordinator, things shifted toward drama today. At least in terms of the questions -- not necessarily the answers.

On the way he handled George McDonald's demotion (and why it was over the phone):

"Well, it wasn't over the phone, but I think that's between George and I. A difficult decision, tough decision, but as you look back, you don't want to live in the 20/20 hindsight mode because that's not reality. So we move forward. Obviously not easy, difficult situation for all involved, but at the end of the day, George and I and the whole staff are united, we're united today, and we agree to move forward and work hard together for the betterment of the team because we definitely understand the team and the kids are our number one priority, and that's our focus now. So you get over the hurdles in the road and you stumble a little bit here and there, but you fight back together for what's in the best interest of the team, and that's where we are today."

On the conversation that occurred between Shafer, McDonald and other coaches following last night's ridiculous tangent to media:

"Well, the statement I gave is the end and start point of all the discussions we had, one-on-one and as a staff, and we sat around a room and we talked about it like a family, and we made the decision to move forward, like I said. To be honest with you, I'm anxious to get back on the field and do right by these players. I'm anxious to get the kids together for our pre-practice meetings and step it up and move forward as men. It's up to us to lead the right way, and we're all looking forward to doing that today."

Regarding the disconnect between Shafer and McDonald (Shafer calling George "unselfish" while George saying "he would've never left Arkansas" had he known he could get demoted):

"Oh, just like any relationship any of us have with people. You're going to have emotional times, and I know George was emotional. This morning we sat, we spoke, he apologized to me, and we decided that we wanted to move forward together. There's a sense of -- there's truly a sense of excitement to do so. Like I mentioned to Steven Bail there a couple minutes ago, the whole focus is on moving forward for these kids, these kids that are a part of our team, and I think it's a great opportunity to learn and use this situation as a life lesson for them. I think as role models and adults, it's our duty to do a great job making reparations with our own relationships so we cannot just talk the way but model the way, and that's what we're doing today moving forward."

Evaluating a future with George McDonald on staff:

"You know, we don't deal in the what-ifs, we deal in one day at a time. That's a creed that I believe in. So George and I together with the rest of the staff and this team are fighting to win the day, understanding that you can't look too far down the road and you can't look too near or behind yourself to move forward. You've got to win every minute the day that you're living, right here and now, and that's how we're approaching it. If I had to go through a difficult time like this, I would do it again with George McDonald."

***

Takeaways:

  • Shafer's still standing by his friend, McDonald, despite the shitty things his friend seemed to say about Shafer and his current employer, Syracuse, last night.
  • ... Which probably means there weren't a lot of terse things said to McDonald last night other than "hey man, say sorry before they fire you."
  • George McDonald is emotional.
  • We're moving forward.
  • Shafer would do it again

That last one's puzzling. If asked if you WOULD do it again, you obviously say "yes" to save face for you and your friend. But in this case, that wasn't the question, so it's odd why Shafer would include that. I personally would NOT do this again with McDonald, especially given the pettiness of his demotion. I'm sure most of you feel similarly...

Look, at the end of the day, McDonald's been demoted and we're moving on. But if you think McDonald's not angling for other jobs and/or taking our recruits with him, you're nuts. I was happy to have him help our wideouts on Monday, but now it's time to show him the door before he does any further damage.