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Coach Bob Casullo Fired: The Fizz was Right All Along

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As early as September it seemed obvious from my vantage point: Bob Casullo was not good at his job.

I took plenty of heat for suggesting SU’s special teams coach deserved the hot seat after just a month of the season.

A sampling of the responses (as you can read below in the comments section):

“What dumb article.”

“Yes…Dumb article Ted. Your HOT SEAT has no merit!”

“how is he on the HOT SEAT?”

Apparently the hot seat also requires capital letters, which I systematically forgot was crucial to make a point within the blogosphere. Five lashes to my typing hands seems appropriate. We move on.

This afternoon, Doug Marrone announced Casullo was no longer with the program. This is fascinating timing considering SU only has one regular season game left and a bowl. Why wait until now? Either the unit was so egregiously underperforming Marrone could not wait a month or Casullo was absolutely going to be fired after the season and SU could benefit from a new start as early as possible.

How were the special teams so awful?

  • Rob Long has the best yards per punt in the Big East, yet SU ranks in the bottom four of punt return yards given up and average per return.
  • The Orange ranks last in the league in kickoff coverage.
  • Long had a 14-yard punt last week that cost the Orange three points and altered the complexion of the game.
  • SU has struggled to find a useful personnel group to cover kickoffs all season.

Casullo did not get the job done for SU. He’s gone now. It’s the Rob Spence situation all over again, but at least this time the lame duck coach got the axe early, negating the possibility of meetings being awkward and contentious. Viva Marrone. Here’s my original post. Sometimes hindsight is 20/20. Sometimes The Fizz is just right.

* * *

SU fans and media have had a lot of fun this year at the expense of Groobers. They’ve been citing all the blog and MSM stories that Greg Robinson needs to be fired.

Awesome. We love it. In fact, we started it with Michigan’s first breakdown of 2010.

However, there haven’t been too many calls for action (at least in written, serious form) about one coach who is having problems at Syracuse. Well, until now.

Special Teams Coach Bob Casullo: it is the safest statement in the world to say that you’re on the hot seat.

It’s time to check the stats so I don’t sound like I’m haphazardly ripping you between trips from the basement to eat dinner with my mother and get my latest Netflix package out of the mailbox.

Casullo’s special teams unit is giving up more than 22 yards per kickoff, which is an extra yard more than SU is averaging on returns. Not completely egregious, unless you listened to this week’s FizzCast and potentially noticed this schedule.

Akron, UW, Maine, and Colgate? Are you kidding me? This is completely unacceptable. The first return in the Dome went for more than 60 yards.

Second is the lack of basic understanding of punt returns.

Refer to Figure A.

When there are 240-pound behemoths running at you full speed, this signal denotes they can not touch you. Mike Holmes, for some reason, hasn’t learned this yet. Nobody worries too much when you average 18.7 yards per return, but there are plenty where he should be waving his arms up.

By the same token free-speech advocate Bryce Hawkes, if an opposing player makes the motion (again, Figure A) you can’t level him to finish off your 40-yard dash. It’s a 15-yard penalty.

Plenty of people were surprised last season when the team had a decent turnover of assistants, but Casullo stuck around.

We love to sit on our high horse and rip one coordinator (who royally screwed us back years and now resides in Ann Arbor) who is taking a whole lot of crap. But we have’t dished it out to our own. Special teams could be the difference between bowl and bust this year, and coach Casullo has the target square on his back.

Yes, Casullo went to the Superbowl with the Seahawks doing the same thing. But that was 2005. Things have changed. Special teams is shaky. I’ve been there to see it.

Posted: Ted Conroy

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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