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Is Syracuse’s Mounting Suspensions Doug Marrone’s Fault?

More players are gone for the postseason, but the message is falling on deaf ears.

Frank Ordonez/ Post-Standard

Andrew Lewis and Brice Hawkes have been suspended from the SU football team for the Pinstripe Bowl. Two years into Doug Marrone’s tenure at Syracuse University and some of his players still haven’t gotten the memo.

And now we’re all starting to wonder: why not?

No matter who you are, If you’re not responsible off the field, you won’t play.

Lewis and Hawkes have been suspended from the team for an undisclosed violation of team rules. Somehow, miraculously, the growing list of players reprimanded by Marrone hasn’t managed to faze the next guy from screwing up. The result is a team that, before you know it, will field fewer players than the 18-man hoops squad.

An already depleted roster continues to lose more bodies (and talented ones, at that) for no other reason than sheer stupidity, and fans have the right to be irked.

Annoyed at Marrone? Honestly, after the latest suspensions came down, a small part of this Fizz writer was angry at Coach. Better judgment kicked in and I was reminded of the dramatic growth this program has seen under HCDM in such a short time.

It’s easy for the heart to get in the way of the brain. My heart hurts for a redshirt senior that won’t get to participate in the final game of his SU career. It’s a game that will validate the years of hard work players like him put in, even though they never received many wins to show for it. My heart worries what will become of the talented young core of linebackers that was set to step in for the departing Derrell Smith and Dogue Hogue.

My heart wants Marrone to lighten up (especially after reading this and this), seemingly silly misunderstandings that led to players being dismissed from the program.

Then there’s my brain. Yeah, all the discipline can get annoying. Especially when it looks like the program is shooting itself in the foot. But sometimes you have to lose a battle to win the war.

We’re two years into the war though, so when do the lost battles start paying dividends? You could argue that they already have in the Big East standings. I’d argue the Orange W-L record has more to do with Marrone’s in-game coaching ability than anything else.

The point is, the team’s current performance doesn’t have a place in this particular discussion. All the players that have been sent packing over the last two years, has been meant to change the culture surrounding Syracuse football. Marrone’s not shooting for a quick fix. He wants long-term stability. To achieve that, he needs the malcontents out of the way.

I’m just wondering how many rotten apples need to be tossed aside before only the good ones remain. My expectation is that next year, the suspensions, the dismissals, and the silliness stops.

For now, Doug Marrone gets the benefit of the doubt as a guy who’s cleaning up Greg Robinson’s mess. But soon, if off-field problems keep plaguing the Orange, and potentially scare off a prized recruit, then Marrone, and no one else, will be the one to blame.

Posted: Andrew Kanell

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