Doug Marrone has decided to establish permanent captains for the final three weeks of the season. You have to wonder what took so long? Syracuse had been using a rotating system, where the four Orange captains were voted on every week depending on leadership shown in practice. But for SU’s stretch run, it’s going to be Ryan Nassib, Justin Pugh, Siriki Diabate, and Shamarko Thomas.
The Fizz understands the idea of putting a carrot out every week for players. Allowing captains to be voted on might motivate some to be first to the weight room, last off the practice field, and hold teammates accountable in the huddle. The hope is it keeps pushing individuals to higher levels of leadership, instead of letting everyone remain static.
But realistically, when a team is butchering the same situations on the field every Saturday, doesn’t it make far more sense to install permanent leaders and ask them to hep steer the team? And wouldn’t it have helped this team to establish permanent leaders before the season, then allow them to develop their voices?
On the same day he announced his change in captain policy, Marrone also lamented how penalized his team is.
“When a team goes out there and commits that many penalties, and I’ve said this before, it’s a direct reflection on the coach. And gosh, I’ll tell you it hurts when that happens, because I’ve never been part of that. Obviously, I have to do a better job.”
Yeah, tally up 12 penalties for over 100 yards in the loss at Cincinnati. And the entire season has been one slow motion close-up shot of a yellow flag being thrown near an SU player.
It’s nice that Marrone keeps saying “I have to do a better job.” But we’re nine games into a 12-week season. When does that “doing a better job thing” kick in? Something has to change. This is past aggravating. It’s past maddening.
Instead of screaming louder on the sidelines, it makes more sense to ask your leaders in the huddle to demand more concentration. And when you have different leaders in that huddle who have been given the gold star just for the week, maybe those voices just aren’t loud enough.
Syracuse should’ve established its captains (Nassib, Pugh, Shamarko) before the season (like almost every other football team in the last century), and told them: this is on you as well. Get your teammates focused. Get them disciplined. Show them silly mistakes won’t be tolerated.
Look, just because there’s perma-capatains now doesn’t mean suddenly this is going to be the least penalized team in the nation over the final three weeks. A lot of these same names have been voted as weekly leaders anyway. And it’s better late than never on the policy change. But I’m just wondering why Marrone tried to re-invent the leadership wheel in the first place.