It was the end of last football season when the Syracuse fan base was going wild for their football team and head coach Doug Marrone. Coming off a 8-5 season, where the Orange had won the Pinstripe Bowl against Kansas State 36 to 34, this seemed to be the time that the program was coming around once again. Especially since 2011 was supposed to be the year that the jump was to be made, meaning this team was ahead of schedule. This year it was once again looking good for the Orange, a 3-1 start where the only loss came on the road to USC, even if in the games there were some kinks in the armor. The next two weeks Syracuse went 1 and 1 and it was time for the only ranked team on the schedule, West Virginia, on national television. I listened to three local sports shows the Monday after and for the most part the hosts were excited but cautious, and they were very right in being that way.
In that game coach Marrone’s squad could to nothing wrong, beating their Big East foes by the final of 49 to 23. The team was now 5 and 2 and ready to take on the rest of the conference games. Again, if you listened to the local sports media and the fan base, the program was ready to make the jump. Unfortunately, that jump turned into a stumble, that lasted five games long, and that has now the team watching from the sidelines as others go to bowl games. Without a doubt there is plenty of blame to go around, as the coaching staff does not go out there to play, but on the other hand they do have the responsibility of getting their players ready to play. To show them urgency, and when they do not see it, they should yank them out and explain it again, on the sideline.
I will say that I have never been a fan of Doug Marrone, but I had said after last season that maybe he was the right man for the job. After this season I am once again on the side that maybe the program needs to look elsewhere. His comments after the last couple of games have been Greg Robinson like and that has to scare the fan base.
"“I know we can do better but still need some more time”"
I think that this year this team went backwards and sentences like this are a cop out that is trying to keep the masses at bay. And while I do agree that the mistakes on the fields are made by the players, the fact that the offense has been “dumbed down” and that it’s still not working is on the coaching staff. Sure, mistakes happen, but when on the last game of the season, one you need to win in order to go to a bowl game, you can muster up six turnovers it feels like the coaching staff can not rally the troops. The discussion about the team losing because of recruiting as they can not bring in top players, well, that is once again on the staff, cause if you do not win, you do not get the blue chippers.
In the end Marrone is lucky that the Big East is a basketball conference and that SU is good in that, cause thanks to a Top 5 team in that sport the fans will be talking about anything but football soon enough. One the other hand, the whispers of those that didn’t like this hire might be a bit louder after this five game slide.