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

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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  1. J.B. Gentile (please omit) says:

    Come on all of these kids know what the rules are. If they stayed or entered the program with Marrone they know the rules. As far as loosing Ishaq goes, the article implies he would like ND’s defense better, but likes the Life skills program Marrone has….that would include the strict discipline

  2. Stu says:

    I’m tired of this secrect s#@* about why these kids are not allowed to play in the bowl game. Did they murder, rape or were they late for curfew or had a couple of beers. Let us fans know if not then and we get our butts kicked around at the Pinstripe HCDM needs to answer or the media needs to do their job and find why these kids were kicked out of the bowl game

  3. Johnny says:

    It’s really not our business, if you got reprimanded at work and it caused your co-workers to take on a bigger load would you want privacy or the whole company to know? Frankly really its not our business.

  4. Kanell says:

    Stu and Johnny – I think you’re both right. As Stu said, I wish we knew exactly what happened, really for me because of Lewis, because it was especially surprising to see Lewis get into trouble. Part of the frustration that I wrote about in the article just comes from me not knowing what to think about the latest suspensions, because no one knows what the players actually did.

    But Johnny hits the nail on the head as well. It’s fair that a program would like to keep its problems in house. I’m not sure it’s in the best interest of most of the local media outlets to investigate something like this anyway, because leaking what these guys did isn’t important enough to be worth the risk of sacrificing the trust of SU Athletics.

    Thanks everyone for reading and we appreciate the feedback. Have a happy holiD.A.’s and a Merry Fizz-mas.

    - Kanell

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