Scott Shafer did a whole lot of press on Tuesday as part of 2015 ACC Kickoff. The Syracuse Orange head coach is entering his critical third season at the helm and he had a lot to say on personnel, coaching and predictions. Let's try to weed through all of it to find out what was important...
Tim Daoust: DC Designate?
Rumors swirled in the off-season that defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough might head elsewhere. Had he, Shafer would have felt comfortable giving defensive line coach Tim Daoust a promotion.
"Sure. I mean. He’s ready to do it in my opinion," Shafer said. "I love having Chuck Bullough here, but there’s something great about knowing Timmy Daoust is ready to do the same thing."
Three Scholarship Kickers
Syracuse currently has three scholarship kickers and one walk-on kicker on the roster. Overkill? Not when you look at the big picture, says Shafer:
"I think people forget that Sterling Hofrichter is a very, very good punter. And I think a lot’s been said about his placekicking ability obviously," Shafer said. "But Riley Dixon is done after this year. So I think if you look at it that way, you say you have to have one ready to go when Riley’s out. And we happen to have a guy that does both extremely well in Sterling Hofrichter. I think you can figure out that we have to make sure we take care of business, and I didn’t want to wait a year when we had one that was really excited about his opportunity."
Long Snapper Fight!!!
Just because Matt Keller has a scholarship and is atop the depth chart, that doesn't mean the job is his just yet.
For those that are curious, Shafer said there’s a good competition with Matt Keller and Keith Mitsuuchi for starting LS.— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) July 21, 2015
Juliam Whigham Still Has Work To Do
Don't think that cornerback Julian Whigham gets to walk into 2015 with a starting gig just because he's the elder statesman in the group. Shafer says the senior is going to have to earn that job once again.
"To be honest with you, I love Julian, great family, love his family, but he’s going to have to keep working his tail off," SU head coach Scott Shafer said. "There’s (Juwan) Dowels and (Cordell) Hudson, we got great competition. There’s no guarantee who’s going to be the starter at corner right now."
Marquise Blair's Status Still Unknown
Four-star prospect Marquise Blair is still waiting on the NCAA to clear him before he can join the university and the team. Shafer says if the NCAA denies him it won't be for a lack of trying.
"He got the grades he needed. Everything was in place," Shafer said Tuesday.
"Now we're waiting to see what the NCAA is saying about the classes and the structure of when he took the classes and how it all worked. God bless Marquise Blair. He's worked his tail off."
Lamar Dawson Situation 'Very Complicated'
TL;DR Version: Lamar Dawson committed to SU in 2014, deferred due to an illness, saw his scholarship voided before he was cleared and is now at a prep school hoping to get that offer back from SU. Shafer told reporters that he still wants to see Dawson succeed in football but his health remains the top priority.
"I've always said to Lamar — and Coach (DeAndre) Smith's talked to him a lot more than me — is, 'Just get healthy. If football works out for you, great, but just get healthy.'
"His situation is a very complicated one. Medically, they couldn't figure out what exactly was wrong. So really, it's just get healthy and if the good Lord gives you the opportunity to play the game again, maybe you get a restart at a prep school or a junior college and see if you can do it."
Reading between the lines, it doesn't sound very likely Dawson will end up in a SU uniform, but, we'll see.
You Almost Got To Blame Canada
Shafer said that back in 2013, one of his targets for the offensive coordinator job was NC State OC Matt Canada, whom he had worked with at multiple places previously.
"He was already under contract and that sort of thing and he's working for a great coach in Dave Doeren."
Let it not be lost on you that George McDonald now works under Matt Canada...
Talkin' Bout 44
The whole status of No. 44 remains as murky as ever, which is really weird for a number that's supposedly "back." Monday, Terrel Hunt said he thought the number should remain retired. Shafer, however, is still talking about the legendary number as if it's ready to be put back into circulation.
"For me it’s easy. Jersey No. 44, just the fact that it’s being talked about so much is a great thing, as long as we cut through the layers," Shafer said. "Everyone wants to talk about it being a recruiting tool, which I’m sure it is, we all understand that.
"To me it’s a story, it’s a story about the culture, and the effect that Syracuse University through college football has had on the game. And it goes back to Jim Brown being the best football player maybe ever to play the game, not winning the Heisman Trophy. He helps Ernie Davis come to Syracuse University. Ernie Davis becomes the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. To cross those lines that nobody was talking about back then is a big part of the culture behind No. 44."
Shafer went on to say that ultimately his focus is on winning football games and not on clarifying the official status of the jersey number. And so it goes...
Stop Being Jerks, The Media
Shafer accused the newspapers for trying to find negative stories to sell newspapers. Not wrong, I guess. Though no one buys the D.O.— Sam Blum (@SamBlum3) July 21, 2015
1. I think it's just human nature to notice negative things more than you notice positive ones. They're more likely to catch your eye and more likely to be brought to your attention. I know personally that one negative comment can affect me way more than the 50 positive ones surrounding it if I let it. So I get that and I understand that a guy in Shafer's position would feel hurt by any negative coverage generated by the local media, whom he interacts with often.
2. That said, I honestly believe that the local media tell the story you give them. If you give them positive things to report, they will report them. If you give them negative things to report, or withhold potentially-positive opportunities from them, they have to go with what they're left with. They don't make stuff up, I assure you. They simply provide the truths they're given to their readers. So if you feel as though they're telling negative stories, that's really only because the stories you're telling them are negative.
3. Media is not publicity. I really think people forget that sometimes. The job of the media isn't to tell the story you want them to tell. Their job is to the The Story. That's not always going to be pretty for you, but based on what I know about the folks on the ground in Syracuse, they're not going to lie and they're not going to make stuff up. So the solution isn't to rely on them to tell more positive stories. The solution is to provide them with more opportunities to tell positive ones. You've got an entire roster of positive stories waiting to be told. SU Football is not a victim in this situation. They're just choosing to think they don't have the ability to change things.