Well at least it’s finally over.
Doug Marrone has agreed to coach the Buffalo Bills, Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting. Shefter is the most credible source to weigh in on the situation yet, so it sounds like this is a done deal. The Bills are getting a guy who is a great coach, and is above average in developing talent. The Bills have cycled through multiple coaches in recent years, with names like Mike Malarky, Perry Fuel, Dick Jauron, and Greg Williams all since the 2000-2001 season. Marrone will have his work cut out for him on a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in over a decade, and struggles to have a winning record every season. He will inherit a lot of talent on defense, and a couple explosive playmakers on offense with Stevie Johnson at receiver and CJ Spiller in the backfield at running back. Finally, he will also have a proven leader in Fred Jackson to help lead the charge for the Bills next season.
Many Syracuse fans are upset with Marrone, referencing back to when he was hired that Syracuse was his dream job, and that every coaching decision he ever made was to become the head coach of the Orange. Marrone is a Syracuse alumni, and really gave the image of being a Syracuse guy and wanting to be with the Orange for the remainder of his career. This clearly wasn’t the case, and Marrone left at his first sniff at an NFL job. While I personally like and respect Marrone and definitely wish him well at the next level, it seems apparent to me that the NFL was his real dream. Does that mean he does not love Syracuse University as much as he led on? No. I believe Doug Marrone loves Syracuse as much as or more than anyone else in the community. However, do I think Syracuse was his one “dream” destination and job that he always wanted?
I think his decision to leave answers that for us.
For Syracuse, this unfortunately will inevitably lead to a setback. Marrone was doing absolutely tremendous things in upstate New York, and was having an huge impact on the University and this football team. Marrone was 25-25 in his career in Syracuse, with a team that had won just 10 games total in the previous four seasons prior to him taking over. With Syracuse now heading to the ACC, the school is left scrambling to find a replacement head coach, with no answer in sight. It is unknown which members of Marrone’s staff he will bring with him to the Buffalo Bills, but many fans have given the opinion that defensive coordinator Scott Shafer should be promoted. Until we hear something from the former head coach or the athletic director, we will only have to speculate.
Which brings me to my next point: Syracuse fans still have not heard one word out of either Doug Marrone or Daryl Gross, and that is frustrating to say the least. This entire thing played out like a badly kept secret, with Gross canceling interviews on the radio, and Marrone just never saying a word this entire time. While I can respect the fact that they probably didn’t want to talk to the public and lie to them, any semblance of the truth would have been nice for a fan base that is finally starting to jump on board with this team. Syracuse is heading in to the most critical season in recent history, and the one person who seemed like he could keep that together and forward our momentum is Doug Marrone. When all of this was going down, there was no assurance from the AD of what we will do in the event that Marrone leaves, nor was there any comment on if there even was an attempt to keep him even. I would assume they tried, but without a statement from anyone at any point during this entire saga who knows what really happened?
Regardless, Syracuse must now move forward. We don’t know what kind of impact this will have on the recruits that are already committed to Syracuse, but it is pretty clear (to me anyways) that we are going to have a difficult time putting out a good class now that we don’t have a coach. One would hope that Daryl Gross has been working hard behind closed doors and closed off communications to get Syracuse a good replacement coach, but this is now going to be his third head coach since 2004. We were told the money raised from taking home games away from the Carrier Dome would better the program. We will make more money each season in the ACC. This money clearly wasn’t enough to keep Doug Marrone from bailing on Syracuse University, so a vote of confidence from our athletic director that we will get a solid head coach going forward would be nice.
Although actions speak louder than words. ITLH wishes Doug Marrone the best in the NFL and the Bills, and although we are extremely disappointed in his departure, would like to thank him for bringing Syracuse football to the brink of being back to where they once were.