In a candid interview with The Fizz’s Andrew Kanell that aired on Fizz Radio Saturday, assistant coach John Anselmo gave some very important insight into how the MetLife game is absolutely vital for SU to continue to grow. Unfortunately Syracuse couldn’t pull off the monumental upset of USC, and the debate of whether the Orange should continue to shortchange its CNY fans by playing these huge games at the Meadowlands is shelved for another year. But if you listen to Anselmo, the ends justify the means.
“It’s a heck of a lot easier to recruit players out of New York City and Long Island, when I can tell them we’re going to play in MetLife Stadium against the teams that we’re going to play… and use that to help us in a recruiting situation, where the other teams down there might not be in that same situation.”
This will continue to be enormous for the Orange as it heads to the ACC.
The step up in conference should pay big dividends against Rutgers and UConn. But how about BC, Pitt and Maryland as SU recruits the northeast and mid-atlantic?
“I think it’s very important. Because when we recruited them, we recruited them telling them, ‘Hey, we’re going to be playing at MetLife Stadium, we’re going to play Southern Cal, we got Penn State, we have Notre Dame.’ Young players in the city, on Long Island, they want to play great competition. You tell them you’re playing in a pro venue, the type of teams you’re going to be playing against, it only helps you in the recruiting process.”
“Those kids when they walk into (MetLife) Stadium, they got their parents there, they got their family and friends there, they got their high school coaches there. Most of the (high school) games in the city are played on Saturdays, so it’s hard for those people to get up to see games in the afternoon in Syracuse.”
He understands the concern from upstaters about playing the best games away from the Dome. But he sees it as a huge advantage as they build the brand around NYC.
“Everybody has their own opinion of the game, but from a big picture standpoint, I would understand that the fans would want to see that game in the Carrier Dome. But on the other hand you’re trying to get into the national spotlight, and you’re trying to secure your recruiting base, you have to go against some other schools downstate that are closer to the city. So this is a good footprint for us to solidify that fact that we are New York’s college team.”
Anselmo also gave a surprisingly honest peek into the message SU is selling the in-state players.
“I tell the kids all the time, ‘You want to go to a place out of state, well there’s going to be 20 kids from that state on that roster, in your recruiting class. So what benefit do you have?’”
The experience of this coaching staff in the five boroughs and New York metropolitan area is obviously paying big dividends? Why? Because of trust.
“The one thing that we always say to the players down there and to the coaches: ‘First of all, Doug’s from the Bronx. So he has a city connection. I recruited the city for 30 years at Nassau. Most of those coaches to me have sent players to me when I was at Nassau. Or coaches on their staff have played for me. So you’re not going to have to go introduce yourself when you get into the coach’s office.
“If a high school coach knows that you have people you can trust on a staff and he can call you up and say, ‘Hey listen I sent you a guy and he’s got a problem, can you look into it?’ And if it takes you 2 weeks to call him back, you’ve got a problem. But that’s never going to happen up here. I’ve had the relationships for 30 years with those people, and we like to think that that pays dividends.”
Syracuse may have lost the battle, but it’s winning the war. The Orange is light years ahead of where it was in recruiting when Marrone took over. And these are the reasons why.