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Syracuse Football: Scott Shafer's Job Is Harder Than You Think

In the process of owning a new home, TNIAAM contributor Jared Smith realized no matter how many people tell you something is hard you never really know the difficulty until you experience it. That's why Syracuse fans should be thankful for the position the football program is in come Saturday.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes you really don't know how hard something is until you actually do it. People can help try prepare you by giving you as much advice as possible, but when things are all said and done, to truly understand the difficulty of something, one must experience it themselves.

So many times friends, family and acquaintances told me the house buying process was one of the most difficult things you'll go through in life. Nearly three weeks into the process, I was smirking at their notions because, at the time, things were running pretty smoothly.

That was before a student loan tossed a snag in the application process. After my wife and I got that cleared up, it was then the one-million week government shutdown (that's what it felt like) that backed logged all the housing loans.

Currently, over three months removed from our offer on our new house, this evening I'll go back to my new home and see a big hole in the floor, nails coming through the ceiling and a whole lot of dust in our newly expanded living room, which no longer has a wall it used to.

The process, once you get time to think about it, is pretty overwhelming, especially once you add a mortgage to pay for.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, as I made time to watch the Syracuse Orange football team struggle their way to a loss to the Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday, it was apparent head coach Scott Shafer was dealing with a whole lot on his first-year, head-coaching plate -- a slew of new injuries, a young developing quarterback and seemingly lost offensive coordinator.

Yet, a little over a month ago, after shaking off a big loss to Clemson with a road win at N.C. State, things seemed like they were running pretty smoothly. It looked like, at least from a fan's vantage point, this new head coaching thing was easier than most people predicted. Heck, after rebounding from an embarrassment at Georgia Tech with two straight wins, one against Wake Forest and another against Maryland, the Orange had already matched national expectations with five wins and needed just another one for a bowl berth.

This was a piece of cake! Look at us go! Isn't this great?!?!?

Then, of course -- just like buying a new house with a once standing wall -- things no longer look as peachy as they once did. There's potential there for something really good, but there's a lot more work to be done and, frankly, at this point, everyone is learning on the job -- the head coach, the quarterback and the offensive coordinator (I am no carpenter).

Once the final seconds ticked off the clock in Saturday's loss, I praised Shafer for a few things: 1) A fantastic call on the fake field goal that almost won the game for the Orange (I am not even sure Doug Marrone makes that call); 2) getting the program to this point in the season. Because now I have a better perspective on how hard some things are and I am positive this "taking over a program" thing is much harder than we all think.

A lot could have gone wrong for Syracuse this season, especially once the Drew Allen experiment took a quick nosedive and our defense really struggled to stop anybody. Yet, the Orange are still one win away from possibly ending up in a bowl game and finishing third in the ACC's Atlantic Division standings.

Sure, it will not be easy. But, didn't everyone tells us before the season it would be like this?