So George McDonald is out of the picture. This you know. What we don't know is who replaces the beleaguered OC-turned-WR coach on the Syracuse sidelines. But good thing we're on the internet, where rampant speculation is the main form of news currency! Now who's going to fill George's shoes? Time to dive into a list of candidates.
(Note: these have all be assembled via a combination of staff research, Twitter chatter and comment section banter)
Scott Shafer Coaching Tree
Frisman Jackson, soon-to-be-former wide receivers coach, NC State
I casually (and jokingly) mentioned this possibility in the McDonald article earlier, but here's something revealed in those comments: Jackson was personally recruited by Scott Shafer to play wideout at Northern Illinois. No, it's not Shafer's typical coaching tree move, BUT a) MAC ties, b) his most recent job was in the ACC at the same position. Additionally, he brings with him some NFL chops, having worked for the Jets and Browns as well. Maybe that helps with recruiting.
Bobby Acosta, tight ends coach, Syracuse
Hey, maybe the best choice is the most obvious and easiest one. Acosta has done a bang-up job recruiting in the New Jersey area for the Orange thus far, and this would be a well-deserved promotion. "But then that just transfers the opening spot on the staff," you say. Maybe not. Current Air Force tight ends coach Jake Moreland used to work with Shafer at Western Michigan and bringing him in here would seem like a natural fit. He also used to play in the NFL, which would be an additional recruiting aid, I'm sure.
Brian Rock, offensive coordinator & wide receivers coach, Kent State
There are a bunch of Western Michigan ties you could link to this job and Shafer, and while Rock is a long-shot since we'd be asking him to take a position downgrade, his name should at least be floated. He's been at Kent State since 2011, and you'd have to think a jump is coming for him -- in one direction or another. The team's had mixed success without Dri Archer involved, which probably helps our case to get him on board here.
Former Syracuse Wide Receivers
Rob Moore, soon-to-be-former wide receivers coach, Buffalo Bills
As Sean pointed out earlier today, Rob may need a new job soon depending on what happens to Doug Marrone. Moore is only a couple years removed from being Syracuse's wide receivers coach, and while this may be a step backwards for him, it may also be the right fit for him to go home again and sow his oats at the college level. I wouldn't hold my breath here, but it's certainly something worth mentioning.
Qadry Ismail, commentator, Baltimore Ravens/track and field coach, Patterson High School
Ismail's never coached football, but that's not a big issue given his success at Syracuse and easy appeal to recruits. He knows how to analyze the game (see his work on Comcast and Ravens Report, as well as Ravens games), and does coach track and field. Additionally, he pushes physical training, which could help Syracuse recruiting even further. Long-shot, but an intriguing upside hire, perhaps -- especially if we're getting more involved in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area. (H/T @bpilatzke)
Kevin M. Gilbride, tight ends coach, New York Giants
Gilbride's been hanging around on Tom Coughlin's Giants staff for five years, but this past year he received a slight demotion from wide receivers coach to tight ends. So on top of the Coughlin SU tie, Gilbride also served as a graduate assistant at Syracuse under both Paul Pasqualoni and GERG. He's also been a wideout coach at Temple -- in 2009 when they went 9-4 under Al Golden, so both the college and pro coaching chops are very much there.
Rocco Casullo, head coach/athletic director, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
The former Syracuse ball boy (and son of former SU assistant Bob Casullo) has pretty much everything we'd want out of a coach: Orange ties, special teams experience, Florida pipeline... just not the college experience. Still, this could be a low-cost add for Shafer if he wants to plug the hole with a potential commodity. Casullo could also work in the same way Moreland was mentioned earlier, if we went that route and promoted Acosta instead. (H/T @kingottosworld)
Sean Lewis, assistant coach (inside receivers), Bowling Green
Not the type of name we'd typically include here, sure. That said, Lewis has been a buzz-worthy name in some coaching circles, handling receivers at Eastern Illinois and Bowling Green with some solid success. He's not in the Shafer coaching tree, but MAC ties would tend to tell you he's on the radar. He also just joined Bowling Green this past season, which may decrease the chance he jumps elsewhere.
Charley Molnar, wide receivers coach, Idaho
Molnar coached at Western Michigan, but right before Shafer arrived. Since his time with the Broncos -- in which the team's receivers were very successful -- he's been the head coach at UMass and most recently, the WR coach at Idaho. Chances are some mutual WMU acquaintances could connect Molnar and Shafer, plus he'll probably take any life raft he can out of Moscow, Idaho.
Ron Dugans, wide receivers coach, USF
The former 'Noles and NFL player has moved himself through the ranks fairly well since becoming a coach, working for Florida State, Louisville and now USF. He specializes in wide receivers, obviously, which would be a great help to Syracuse right now, and he knows his way around the Florida recruiting landscape, too. There are no links to the current staff, so it's really all about how good of a relationship Shafer may or may not have with former Dugans employers Charlie Strong and Jimbo Fisher, respectively. (H/T @bpilatzke)
Chad Johnson, wide receiver, Montreal Alouettes
Bear with me: He wants to be a college wide receivers coach, and loves the snow. Sure, it sounds nuts on paper, but what if it happened? What if Syracuse was the school that figured out that Ochocinco could recruit (and I believe he can, to be honest) and actually coach the hell out of receivers? It's not happening for SU. But that doesn't mean it won't happen somewhere else down the road.
Plenty more names will probably come up here. But these are at least a good starting point? Anyone else come to mind? Feel free to share in the comments.