Does Brice Hawkes’ Dismissal Reflect Poorly on Doug Marrone?

The Fizz believes it was academics which got another linebacker kicked off the team.

Another Syracuse football season, another dismissal – this time Brice Hawkes. That’s the sort of statement that Doug Marrone and Co. want to stop being uttered about the program. Yet, here we are in April, most of the way through the spring practice period, and another promising young player has been booted from the program for good.

The Fizz has reason to believe it was for academic reasons. It wouldn’t be surprising if Hawkes ignored his grades, walked the tightrope of probation, and eventually eliminated himself by failing to reach certain GPA mandates.

The Fizz knew pretty early Hawkes was a knucklehead judging from his wardrobe, and discussed why he was already on thin ice entering the spring. Still, it’s hard not to have the feeling it didn’t have to turn out this way. Despite his extreme lack of common sense, people never regarded the linebacker from Florida as a mean-spirited guy (come on, look at that baby face!) or, ahem, a criminal like one of his teammates.

Fans and media would have a much easier time stomaching the instant end to a player’s time in Orange if we had any idea why he was dismissed. In fact, The Fizz spoke to a member of the football team who told us players showed up for practice one day and were simply told Hawkes was gone, with no other explanation. The Dougie is truly keeping information close to the vest if there’s not even an explanation to teammates of the permanent disappearance of a projected starter on defense.

It’s certainly frustrating knowing what Syracuse could have at the linebacker position, and what it actually has now. Orange Nation could have enjoyed three years of watching Malcolm Cater, Hawkes, and Marquis Spruill play side by side. Then Cater had to go steal a television (allegedly, of course). Hawkes got himself booted. Spruill moved over to middle linebacker, where he is currently flanked by a couple of question marks.

As the problem children continue to pile up for SU under Marrone’s tenure, Orange fans are beginning to grumble – just as they did when he first showed up in town and began dismissing players.

Keep in mind, Marrone went out of his way to laud the character of this year’s recruiting class, one that amazingly is composed entirely of kids who were captains of their high school squads.

But now into Marrone’s third spring, who’s fault is it when players are still being dismissed? The Fizz asked this question when a rash of behavior problems hit the Orange in the weeks leading up to the Pinstripe Bowl. How many student athletes need to get kicked to the curb before the focus and blame shifts over to Marrone? I didn’t give the coach much leeway:

“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 stop.”

Well, it’s next year now. Still seeing a lot of silliness.

Isn’t the point of disciplining a player to make an example out of him, so that everyone else knows how not to behave? What good does it do to “suspend” Hawkes for three practice sessions (like running laps around the field Petey-in-Remember the Titans-style while the rest of the team practices), and then give him the boot without explaining the circumstances to his teammates? Players may believe Marrone is just a hardass who could suspend anyone for for just about anything.

It’s a point I’ll continue to make until The Dougie can piece together a season without the sketchy departure of a key player. For all we hear about Marrone turning the attitude of the football program around, there still seem to be recruiting pipelines on The Hill flowing in opposite directions.

It would be nice to finally clog the one that carried two of SU’s three probable linebacker starters out of town.

Posted: Andrew Kanell

15 Comments on this Post

  1. Marty H.

    You’re making something out of nothing. In fact, the whole piece is a bad analysis. Every program has dismissals, defections. Marrone does not need to tell the media or other players why players are dismissed. The players know the rules and Marrone’s parameters and if someone is dismissed they can probably figure it out for themselves. I know of no Syracuse fans grumbling about the dismissals. Marrone is going to run a tight ship, it’s his way or the highway. It’s got to be that way at Syracuse-discipline and structure and not the aloofness represented by the G-Rob Error. It’s a privilege and not a right to play football at Syracuse. Hawkes showed a lot of immaturity by inappropriate dress, tweets and doing something to get suspended before the biggest game of the year. And the assertion that recruiting pipelines are being adversely affected by dumping a player is preposterous. Just the opposite is true, he will get a better quality player committed to team and the other responsiblities expected of a student athlete. What Marrone probably did wrong was take a chance on this kid or didn’t do enough research in the first place before recruiting him. This was a piece of garbage article. It takes the side of an obviously immature, not committed player.

  2. Jay Kap

    Great post Frank! This website is just like the National Inquirer…they love to start shi*. Marrone is doing a great job. Stop writing such irresponsible articles, D.A.. Although, he is right…the kid does have a baby face! There’s no way a kid with a babyface could do anything bad!!

  3. Marty and Jay

    I think you guys are missing the point here. Everyone knows that Hawkes is in the wrong here- the kid is a knucklehead, and I have been screaming it from the rooftop for months now.

    The question that gets asked when he leaves is, “Who brought the knucklehead on campus?” And right now, that person is Doug Marrone, who gave the kid multiple chances.

    Beckett Wales is a mystery, but he is on leave. Malcolm Cater got arrested for stealing TVs. And immature Brice Hawkes is gone.

    We aren’t throwing the Dougie under the bus- we just made an assertion that HIS guys are now leaving the program. And that starts and ends with his recruiting.

    Keep reading!


  4. ottodaorange

    First of all, I believe this is an amateurish attempt at editorial comment.

    Secondly, and most importantly, you guys missed the point… or more acurately two points: 1. Is Doug Marrone too strict/ask too much of his players/cross boundaries in what he expects from his players and should he ease up a bit? 2. Every person has to accept responsibilites in this world (Brice Hawkes)and a young man entering adulthood in most societies is expected to behave in a responsible manner and have the capacity to understand and appreciate the effect they have on others. To do otherwise is to be a child and should there a different standard for the children among us and if so what is it? I believe that clarity and consistency are essential to helping maturity along and perhaps leniency is sometimes the more desirable course of action.

    Of course these observations are offered from 1500 miles away and not privy to knowing the circumstances, only the results… but these are the issues worthy of debate and I think you missed them both.

  5. Frank M.

    Another day, another Anti-Marrone post.

    Don’t you guys have some recruits’ parents to argue with?

  6. Frank M. – I’ve been hounding DaJuan Coleman’s uncle for days, insisting it’s a mistake to come to SU. I’ll let you know if he responds. As for “anti-Marrone posts” – you must’ve missed the last two years of coverage here on the Fizz. We’ve been building statues of The Dougie since season one. But you have to realize by Year Three this is no longer a one-way street. If players are getting kicked off the team (Cater, Hawkes) the coaching staff is selecting guys who are mistakes, or are mistakenly believing they can change them. No?
    Thanks for reading and responding everyone. Always appreciate interacting directly with you guys.

  7. Frank M.

    Football programs that haven’t had a winning season since 2001 can’t be picky when it comes to recruiting.

    Now that Marrone has a winning season and a bowl victory under his belt, I suspect that he won’t have to offer any more scholarships to talented albeit “at-risk” kids.

  8. I just want to say that you literally wrote an entire article without saying anything important or relevant. I mean, you’re really going to tell me that you don’t think that players can put on an act for coaches during recruiting visits and interviews and then their truth self comes out once they get here? Do you really think that when DM visited Malcom Cater and Brice Hawkes houses they were going to make it known that they were trouble and they had plans to be criminals once they arrived on campus? You seem to think that DM and his coaching staff walk around wiht lie detectors and professional psychologists that read into the minds of these high school kids and warn the coaches about the warning signs shown from the recruits. Do us all a favor and really think about what you just wrote here and ask yourself if it truly makes sense.

  9. paul gundersen

    SU is not Princeton, Harvard, or even Duke (thank God!). Out of 100 players,don’t you figure 20 will struggle with academics or with dicipline problems?
    Heck, it would be a HUGE miracle if 80 percent of SU’s general students made it to graduation. Doug and SU each have standards – some will always run afoul of them.

  10. Nope. Still fully in Dougs corner on this one. We have had a lot LESS issues this year so far with players.

    And its definitely a numbers game. Out of 85 kids, youre going to have some bad apples. You cant even get 5-10 on a basketball team without some of them running afoul of trouble in their 4-5 years. BUT – I think with a football team, you’re much more likely to let a kid with behavioral or academic problems go, because there’s typically 2 deep in his position on most teams. You dont have the option nearly as much with a basketball team, depending on the player.

  11. capt tuttle

    You need to get the real reason Hawkes was dismissed, and then you will wonder why Doug kept him on campus for so long. He had a number of opportunities to do right, and continued to do wrong. Hopefully this is a wake up call for him and he can make the changes he needs to make.
    If you really, really think about what types of things could get a talented athlete kicked off of campus and no one will talk about it, there are only a coupld of logical conclusions. Think before you write.

  12. Alicia Fitzpatrick

    No Mr. Kanell, Brice Hawkes’ dismissal does not reflect poorly on Doug Marrone but your article reflects poorly on you. I guess you missed class when they taught personal development. If you don’t learn how to become a good person, you lose the opportunity to learn to become a good football player. Behavior has consequences. Instead of criticism, how about lending support to a great football program that is trying to re-build!!

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