“I told (the players) we’ve got to do a good job of not listening to what goes on outside,” Marrrone said following SU’s 17-10 loss Saturday night at Minnesota. “I told them perception is what other people think of you, but character is who you are. And we have to work extremely hard to keep getting better and correct the mistakes we’re making. And when we do that – and it’s probably not as much as what people are going to say or talk about – but when we do that we’ll be a very good football team and we’ll win a lot of games.” -The Syracuse Post-Standard
Let me start by saying I share in your frustrations.
This Minnesota game is the second game on the schedule that the Orange should have won, but lost. They lost because of mental mistakes, penalties, turnovers, and at times bad play calling. There was a tremendous lack of discipline, along with another slow start in the beginning of the game that ended with more disappointment.
Having said that, I do not believe Doug Marrone should be on the hot seat for his job at Syracuse. While the Orange have lost two games this season to teams they have more talent then, the fact that they have more talent than the teams speaks to Marrone’s recruiting success since coming to Syracuse. He had nothing of any quality to sell to recruits when he got here, and he has still been able to get good talent without compromising academic standards or recruiting practices.
Marrone has never been in news headlines for the wrong reasons. He has received praise from other coaches, with the most recent being Bill O’Brien from Penn State speaking to his respect for Marrone because of his class in handling the recruitment of Penn State players over the summer.
The teams that Syracuse have lost to this season so far are a combined 11-1 through this point of the season. Frustrating as the losses have been, the season is still young. We know Syracuse has the talent on the field to beat anybody remaining on the schedule, and the Orange have two weeks to work on the discipline issues and silly mistakes before opening Big East play. With the Orange playing in a bad conference, anything can happen and Syracuse can absolutely make a bowl game and make some noise in this conference.
Alec Lemon set a school record at Minnesota for career receptions, and it is unfortunate that it is being overshadowed by negativity towards the head coach. I understand that the immediate reaction is extreme following a loss, but we need to take a deep breath and let the season play out.
Marrone can’t catch the ball for receivers when it hits them in the hands, and as frustrating as the penalties have been I can guarantee that they are being addressed in practice and are not being ignored. It’s going to be a long two weeks in this city, but when it comes time for kickoff in the Dome October 5, everyone is 0-0 and the Orange can erase these first four weeks of frustration.
If we judged Marrone based on such a small part of the season last year at this time, we would have praised and loved him and not had any questions regarding him. Last season started promising and ended poorly, and it could very possibly happen in opposite order this year. We need to focus on football and the next nine weeks before fans judge or speculate about the head coach.