Hackett Follows Marrone to Buffalo: Is it Finally Time for SU Fans to Worry?

There hasn’t been a lot of need for panic in Orange Nation. Doug Marrone’s name came up for NFL jobs, but he’s still a few years away from being offered a head coaching gig right? Ebenezer Ogundeko liked Syracuse, but he was always leaning toward Clemson right? Marrone leaves for the Bills, but he would never pluck from SU’s coaching staff right?

The news that Nathaniel Hackett will take the offensive coordinator’s job in Buffalo is the first reason for serious concern. It’s not that he’s Bill Walsh incarnate, or even that his offense was above reproach. Before this season many thought Hackett was a hack, a man with no plan, and an ever revolving number of schemes and boring play-calls. Heck, even this year we saw the attack totally stall and lose the Orange a game all by itself on a fall night in Minnesota.

But even promoting Scott Shafer to head coach quickly doesn’t erase losing Hackett and another piece of stability for this program. Hackett’s replaceable. But SU could be the victim of a thousand paper cuts. The more instability and unfamiliarity created, the fewer recruits want to remain committed, and the shallower the talent pool gets. The thinning talent becomes problematic in the bigger, stronger, faster ACC and the program starts fighting to remain competitive. And all the momentum built over the last four years – from a standstill in ’08 – is lost and takes an effort to jump start.

This is, of course, worst case scenario. Sounds like most recruits are encouraged that Shafer got the gig. But strong SU commit Gus Edwards is now taking visits to FSU and Miami? The above reproach Zach Allen admitted he was worried after Marrone left, but reiterated his decision to come to SU. But there’s plenty still up in the air with commitments. Will the Marrone/Hackett defections lead to a gutted recruiting class without some of the top names we assumed?

Maybe this is just the dust settling. This could be the natural uneasiness that occurs in the few days following a move like Marrone. For four days I’ve convinced myself there wasn’t much to worry about. SU would continue with Shafer and the rest of the staff, the beat would go on. But now that Hackett is leaving too, I’m starting to grind my teeth.

Let’s see who the Orange tab to replace Hackett. I wouldn’t mind seeing David Walker, a Rochester native and Syracuse alum, who’s now an assistant on the Colts staff get the gig. And the John Anselmo/Tyrone Wheatley combination is going to have to work harder than ever before to keep these commitments in tact. But this is a case of agita Syracuse fans didn’t see coming.

Posted: D.A.


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  1. OrangeCrush27 says:

    DM is starting to become a scumbag in my eyes. Schiano, Todd graham, petrino, bilma, rich Rodriguez and edsall. Dead beats who left a programs for money and without an explanation. U have other dreams, have a better opportunity, making a family decision, that’s fine…but don’t send an email to ur former players, student/athletes none the less, and not tell your fan base what is up, then go on to do more damage to a school who put u in this head coachin position. DM can go F$@& himself! I hope really hope he fails as the coach of the bills. I don’t care how harsh that sounds but I have no respect /remorse for someone in his position, who makes millions of dollars and wants more and more not caring how it affects others.

  2. sulaxman07 says:

    This too shall pass. I have confidence that Shaffer can put together a staff. Her has GREAT CONNECTIONS! David Walker would be a good addition, excellent recruiter. Wheatley may be a possibility. Remember the players play!!! I trust that the committed recruits will still come. If they are unsure then that opens up another scholarship. The sky is not falling!!!!!

  3. LouR says:

    Is this the only O Coordinator in the FBS or the world. let him go. Loeb Kinder and Hunt know the system as does Rob Moore and the other coaches. Gro$$ needs to get off his butt and spend some money and get a replacement ASAP

  4. Dr. Bill says:

    With change, there is always anxiety and worry by some……With others, there is excitement and optimism. i remember on this very site, so many people said Marrone…and Hackett were bums…….Now they are leaving us…before we fired them. I wish them both luck..Now it is off to Cuse business……Our new Head Coach and OC…could be better than the old versions……Let’s just wait and see. If we lose recruits….let them go. Kids are the ones who always get shafted in this coaching change deal…Look at Allen, the QB, he graduates HS early to enroll at SU….only to find out, his head coach and OC have left. Should he not have the chance to do what is best for him? All the adults can do what is best for them. If I were advising a kid, I would tell him don’t sign a letter of intent at all until after the signing date….if things change…everyone else has an out…but you!!!!!

  5. Ira B says:

    I was just on the Colts website reading about David Walker and couldn’t agree more. Orange in his blood, great experience, bring that offense to SU and we are off…maybe better than where we were.

  6. HedgeHog says:

    If Marrone and Hackett do not want to be coaches at Syracuse University, then let them go fly a kite. SU is bigger and better than these two characters, it will survive. I for one would not want to keep any coach or players for that matter that don’t want to be here to play and win for Syracuse. There’s plenty of good coaches that would love to coach for the 15th winningest program in college football history. Go CUSE !

  7. Terry says:

    DA please start being a reporter!! Others too( The PS, Syracuse.com,Troy Nunes and etc). This mess should of been discussed months ago. The fraud(dougie) knew he might flip and go some where. Even I heard rumors that he had feelers out about the NFL. But just buddy rumors!! Shafer is in a very difficult situation-now. But the media is part of the problem. If you did your responsibility and sniffed out these rumors and saw dougie might fly maybe Shafer’s job might of been easier. At least in the eyes of the good DR. I have been saying for the last couple of months something smells about dougie and his attitude/behavior. All the homers called me a dougie-hater, so be it!! That was a guess-yes, but it turned out right. The MEDIA is supposed to do that not me!! SUFB is coming upon an uncertainty of its program. This might of still happened, but at least the administration could deal with it more effectively. If the media did its job!!

  8. chris says:

    Gross incompetence has been demonstrated thus far in2013by a certain AD who will remain unnamed for the moment No real attempt in securing Marrone or he vital pieces of the coaching staff. Oh and the coming loss of a quality recruiting class is only hours away.

  9. Jesse H says:

    Does anyone have any insight into potential OC candidates aside from a David Walker? That would make for a good read if it’s not already on the Fizz’s radar.

  10. AJ says:

    I think that Walker might be the perfect fit for the Orange. Ties to SU. coached and played their also has recruited the NE with Su and Pitt and now has some NFL experience being around the Colts.

  11. Smitty Section 129 says:

    I’ll start out by saying I was a Marrone guy and loved what he did for this program. However how Marrone has handled this situation has changed my thought on Marrone drastically. Dougie if this was truly your “dream job” and you were preparing for this job for a long time then how do you leave when you have this team back to where it belongs. Your like the husband that leaves his wife for the lady down the street that is better looking and takes the dog(Hackett) with him. Hacket I have no problems with leaving to go the NFL as he never said he wasnt going anywhere. No one or two persons are more than the team and this team should rally around this. Zach Allen if you read these blogs, we need you and the fan base here is awaiting your arrival. This is your team with Schafer to lead to a ACC Title.

  12. DA says:

    Terry, I’m not really sure how much of a difference we could’ve made had the media been on top of the Marrone/NFL possibility. I think we all knew it was possible, but whether it came to fruition two months ago or over the weekend, how can anyone really prepare until it happens? There’s so many uncertainties when it comes to the NFL openings – which team fires its coach, etc. I always respected Marrone – but gotta admit, him taking Hackett too is a little annoying. He knows the fragility of the SU program, and he’s not only gonna leave but also grab the OC?

  13. Ron says:

    @Terrie; When rumors first started to float around about Marrone being interviewed for the Tennessee and possible NFL jobs your response was what a joke. that was over two months ago. so know your upset with the FIZZ and other news outlets for not reporting about this.

    The only person that is showing to be a complete fool is you Terrie. Got it,you fool.

  14. Terry says:

    TY!! DA we need more honest media thought and investigation!! But still the local media failed on many issues that dougie dealt with since he arrived here!! GROB got ripped why not dougie now??? Ron I agree with you. And still feel dougie is not NFL material as of yet. Many college coaches went NFL and came back very quickly. One just won a NC at Alabama. He is by far a better coach than your man-right!! Ronette- I’ll only be a fool if Shafer pulls this program out of the deep hole the fraud dougie put SU in after he took the $$$ and ran!! If Shafer can’t do that(winning ways) then will you still want a statue of this program wrecker next to Ernie at the DOME!! Let me know!!!

  15. tebow says:

    DA didnt report on it because there isn’t any gossip.

    If it would’ve been an opportunity to make drama, or spread gossip that would hurt someone or to damage someones career DA would’ve been all over it. Don’t count out the race card though DA loves that one.

  16. LilJoe47 says:

    Good luck to Coach Hackett. Wow!!! What great opportunity for a 33 year old…. As for Syracuse, Shafer needs to hire a seasoned OC with a few years experience running an offense. He needs to let the OC run the show on the offensive side (Like Marrone let Shafer run the show on defense)… Though I like Walker, at this point I think we need more experience. Maybe one of the OCs who lost their job recently in the NFL… Any names out there????

  17. Ron says:

    @Terry;

    I’m not going to tell you how I feel about Marrone leaving and taking Hackett with him to the Bills. This is not the forum for me to be unloading my feelings on the subject. If the rumors are true about people showing their disappointment about his performance as coach to his wife and daughters,then do you really blame him for leaving? So Terry you’ve been a Marrone basher now for almost 2 1/2 years,you ran the gamut,your comments were unrelenting. So now with a contract that’s going to pay him between $20-$30 million over the next 5 years,he can actually turn to people like and telling you all with a smile on his face to kiss his ass. Are you satisfied,really satisfied,that you and the rest of the cry babies have put this program in a crisis that I don’t think they will be able to over come.

    The ill-informed,uneducated,down trodden,welfare people collecting food stamps loud mouth Liberals(Obama’s minions)has struck again. You ought to be pretty damn proud of the group of brothers you so proudly represent.

  18. Derek says:

    I still can’t be mad after what Marrone did for Cuse. If he believes in Hackett and thinks he can turn around the Bills offense (believe it when I see it), then more power to him. I think Hackett probably needed a couple more years at the college level, but I didn’t work with him every single day for the past few years.

    I’m sure we’ll find a great OC to come in and lead this offense, and we have at least two solid QB options to do the same, assuming Zach Allen sticks to his word. (note to Zach – please do. Cuse fans are behind you 100%!)

    I’m just curious if they try to promote from within… we don’t have a lot of coaching experience on the offensive side of the ball, so bringing someone in from outside makes sense. I like the Walker idea if he’s a local guy who might eventually grow into that HC role, but I honestly don’t know much about him.

    All I hope is that, whatever happens in Buffalo over the next few years reflets positively on our program and builds a path to the NFL for Cuse guys.

    Go Cuse!

  19. Russell MacEachern says:

    Wow Ron,that was a hard-hitting reply as Ive seen!!That answers my question to u yesterday about the way u have been feeling lately better than any typed reply to me could have and I COMPLETELY understand, whether I agree or not!!Your Cuse loyalty is beyond doubt and maybe u have more inside scoop than me cause if what u said is more than rumor the “fans” drove him out…I certainly hope not!Calm down my friend and try not to take it so personally,..sometimes things work out for the best in ways we cant see yet!!Im gonna look over the days posts and reply later to any ?s..

  20. I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or weblog posts in this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this web site. Reading this info So i’m satisfied to convey that I have an incredibly just right uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I so much surely will make sure to don?t disregard this web site and give it a glance regularly.

  21. Russell MacEachern says:

    Good for you Derek for always managing to stay positive!!

  22. Ron says:

    @Derek;

    I’ve read that Zach Allen has signed his letter of intent and will be in class at Syracuse University on Monday. I cant wait to meet and talk with him. With all of the turmoil of late,he stuck by his word and signed with us. It was also noted that Clemson went after him hard recently.

    Welcome to the Orange Nation Mr. Allen,it’s going to be fun watching you grow over the next 4 years.

  23. Ron says:

    @Russell MacEachern;

    Some people just don’t understand Russ that there are certain things you just don’t do. One of those things is you never ever attack a mans wife and children,no matter what.

    Russell I don’t think I was mean in my reply. I thought I was calm,it could have been worse.

    Thank you for the advice,In the future I’ll try harder to be more personal and friendly when replying to one’s comments.

  24. Scott says:

    @Ron
    Right, not the place to talk about the subject matter (Coach leaving), and then you turn around and write that last paragraph…
    I thought this was an orange sports site, not a political one. I would suggest you keep your political diatribes to yourself.

  25. Ron says:

    @Scott; I said it wasn’t the place for me to unload my thoughts about Doug Marrone leaving. I thought that I described the fan base in the upstate area pretty well. Who gives a damn wither you agree with my description or not. I DON’T.

  26. Carlton says:

    I don’t understand y everyone so hot about DM leaving. Most of you didn’t want him here anyway. How do any of you know he didn’t give Dr.Gross the heads up? What did he really owe u as fans? Hell u didn’t even fill the dome for him. Why so mad he made a better financial decision for his fam? Anyway everyone just needs to chill. Everyone up in arms about a guy at the end of the day took SU to 2 low level bowl games. I know its a lot better then the yrs before he got to SU. He got things turned around and at the end of the day that is good enough for me. The future is bright at SU thanks to the work done by DM. We should be happy as fans /w that.

  27. Russell MacEachern says:

    Carlton,Exactly my sentiments as I think hes more cut out to just coach not burdened with recruiting his weak link so neccessary in the College game!I think Buffalo is starting to gather the bodys to succeed now w/a few OL guys in the draft and 1/2 DBs!I hope they grab Nassib early 2nd Rd or trade up from there 3rd if other needs are more pressing!I think Fitz can succeed w/some help!

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