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If Marrone Ever Left, Could Jim Tressel Be a Syracuse Darkhorse Candidate?

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It’s January, 2014. The New York Jets have suffered through yet another mediocre year under the supervision of Rex Ryan, and owner Woody Johnson has had enough. The time of aiming for the back page of the New York Post is over – it’s time to make winning the priority.

And to make offense a priority, the Jets sense the need for an offensive coach to restore discipline and humility to a franchise that has suffered repeated embarrassments on and off the field. Former Jets offensive line coach Doug Marrone is selected to lead the franchise forward. Satisfied with the direction Syracuse is headed, and unable to pass up a chance to be an NFL head coach, Marrone moves on.

In a recent article, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King ranked Marrone in the top five college coaching candidates for NFL head coaching positions. So who would theoretically make sense as a replacement if Marrone moved on?

Do you keep it in-house? We saw how a mercenary worked out last time. Nate Hackett could potentially jump to the NFL with Marrone to be his offensive coordinator, but would likely stay if he was promoted to running the SU program. Would you hand the reigns over to Scott Shafer? He’s a good in-game coach, but he’s not exactly known for pulling a lot of weight as a recruiter.

How about current Temple Head Coach and unabashed Orange homer Steve Addazio?

“Obviously, I’m rooting for them in a bowl game. Syracuse has got a special place in my heart. Aside from Friday, I’m certainly cheering for them.”

He used to coach here and has loyalty to the school, and brings a ton of passion and enthusiasm experience. The former Florida offensive coordinator has experience recruiting at a bigtime southern school. He has tremendous connections up-and-down the east coast, but might get plucked for a better job this offseason (some have linked him to the BC opening).

There’s no obvious solution if Marrone leaves. Dig a little deeper though, and an intriguing candidate emerges. He’s actually the perfect man for the job. Here’s his resume:

– Former SU assistant
– BIG name
– Proven winner: 5 BCS bowl victories as a head coach, including 1 national championship, 3 national championship game appearances
– Not a threat to leave quickly for greener pastures

Who owns the resume? Disgraced former Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel, a dream candidate for the Orange if Marrone bolts for the NFL. He’s the big-name coach that the Orange could never otherwise land. Just by name alone, he’ll take SU’s recruiting to another level. Yet he won’t easily move onto a better program, because he’s still widely considered a pariah.

It’s a great combination, one that Syracuse should take advantage of if it ever has the opportunity. Yeah, he let his players get away with exchanging memorabilia for tattoos, but in today’s college landscape coaches have committed worse offenses. Buckeye fans are over it, they gave Tressel a standing ovation before the OSU-Michigan even though he’s the reason the undefeated Bucks can’t play in the postseason.

Plus, the NCAA let Tressel off easy with its show-cause penalty. Tressel would have to sit out the first five weeks of the season if he were hired, and potential bowl game in the first year, but Syracuse itself wouldn’t face any punishments.

What’s the likelihood of Syracuse needing a Marrone successor anytime soon? Not too high. Marrone came to SU to rebuild his alma mater. The Orange is trending upward, but Marrone’s goal wasn’t to make the program an average team in the Big East.

But if he leaves, Tressel could be a dark horse candidate.

Posted: Andrew Kanell

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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