It’s put up or shut up time for Doug Marrone. Now entering his 4th year as head coach, Marrone is quietly moving into the post-honeymoon phase of his coaching career at Syracuse.
Everyone knows a new coach gets a pass the first season (especially when your quarterback was Duke’s point guard a year earlier). The second season came completely out of left field. It was unexpected and icing on the cake to the end of the awful G-Rob era. The Orange won their first bowl game in almost a decade and returned the program to a national spotlight.
Last year … well, it started how it was supposed to. With a record of 4-2 and West Virginia coming to the Dome, the #11 Mountaineers were reduced to rubble after Syracuse’s finest performance in 10 years. Dominating all phases of the game, on national television to boot, things were looking up! The Doug Marrone era was officially here!
Or so it seemed. What looked to be an inevitable trip to a bowl for the second consecutive year turned into 5 straight losses, 4 of those blowouts. Heads were scratched, fingers were pointed, and changes were made.
Marrone took the blame for everything.
As a fan, you want your coach to accept responsibility. You don’t want everyone to be “striving,” or “trying harder” like Greg Robinson would always say. This isn’t pee wee football. Results are expected, and failure to gain those results should force leaders be held accountable. Marrone has taken that responsibility, put it on himself this offseason, and come into this season with a do-or-die attitude. Not much is expected of this team nationally, but that doesn’t mean anything to Marrone. He has his own set of standards and expectations while coaching his alma mater, putting a pressure on himself that no media coverage could.
He has said all along that this was his “dream job,” that he expects success every season. These are qualities I want in the head coach of my football team. However, one can only say the right things for so long without finally just winning. Winning cures everything. The wins that were supposed to come last year, when we were on the cusp of something special, and it never ended up happening. That brings us to this year, where fair or not the wins are expected.
It’s Doug’s turn to bring Syracuse back to the glory days he spoke about 3 years ago. If he takes much longer, he may end up watching someone else fulfill his promise.