Colts Assistant & Orange Legend David Walker Should Be Syracuse’s Next OC

In the sensitive days following the massive changes in the coaching staff, it would be smart for Syracuse to replace Nate Hackett with former Orange star David Walker. The quick promotion of Scott Shafer to head coach may have lacked patience, but acting swiftly has its benefits. Under ideal circumstances, Daryl Gross would have held a widespread search for Doug Marrone’s replacement and found the perfect candidate. But these are not ideal circumstances.

In the world of college football you’re always tentatively holding onto the commitments of recruits. Talent is every program’s life blood. In the NFL, preparation, scheme and coaching can often push an organization from average to winner. In college, you have talent and win. You recruit poorly, you lose. Simple as that.

So the desperate grasp onto commitments is a strong pull. And even if Shafer is merely the safe choice, he also gives you the best chance at holding onto those recruits. But losing Hackett provides another gut punch for SU. He developed an offense players saw working, and were enticed to sign. He brought quarterbacks Zach Allen and Austin Wilson to the Hill. He was a draw.

So how do you remedy that? SU should give Walker an offer to come back to his alma mater. He’s the running backs coach for the Colts, and served in the same capacity under Coach P from 1995-2004. In that time he mentored six running backs who went on to play in the NFL. He’s a bright mind, who’s been around a strong organization and the inspirational Chuck Pagano story this year. Watch a video from this summer of Walker.

As The Fizz dissected this season, the NCAA limits staff size. So you need your recruiters to be serviceable coaches, and your coaches to be serviceable recruiters. Walker would fit both these roles. How could high school players not be impressed by a coach who’s coming from coaching in the NFL? In the same locker room as Andrew Luck, Dwight Freeny and Reggie Wayne. And would anyone bleed Orange like Walker? He’s a former Syracuse team captain, ran for 2,643 yards in his career, led the 1992 team to a 10-2 record with a Fiesta Bowl victory.

The backfield will be the strength of the offense next year since SU will be breaking in a brand new quarterback. How much could Walker get out of Prince Tyson Gulley and Jerome Smith? Add Adonis Ameen Moore and George Morris. Wouldn’t Gus Edwards keep his commitment to SU if he was being coached by a guy who was just working with the Colts backfield?

He also knows New York State and specifically the SU region. He’s a Rochester native and has been inducted into the Section V Hall of Fame for the NYS Public High School Athletic Association. He’s familiar with the SU football dynamic from both a  player and coaches viewpoint, just like Marrone was. And Walker would be a valuable piece to a staff who could use a natural successor to the HC slot should Shafer ever leave or be fired. Syracuse needs to fill Hackett’s void with an impressive hire. Shafer provides the stability, Walker would bring the sizzle.

Posted: D.A.

Filed Under: FeaturedFootball


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  1. Orange Man says:

    I would love the hire as he is known to be a great recruiter/motivator and the kids love him but just wonder about his ability to run a fast paced offense.

  2. Steve Leahy says:

    I would rather see Wheatley get promoted to OC. He knows the system that has been put in place already. That system is not going to change according to Shafer. In addition, I really don’t want any Coach P disciples to be on any SU staff. Why do we need Walker to work with the RB’s? Wheatley was a much better RB in college then Walker was. No disrespect, but facts are facts. GO ‘CUSE!!!

  3. Toady says:

    All valid points, but he’s been a RB coach for a long time. This doesn’t mean he can seamlessly slide into an OC position.

    How much could Walker get out of PTG and Smith? Well, Tyrone Wheatley has gotten a pretty lot out of them so far.

  4. romanrudy2 says:

    Sorry to have to disagree. Everything Walker has to offer, we have now in Wheatley. If Tyrone left..then yes..look at Walker. Walker played RB..coaches RBs. So what does he know about transitioning high school QBs to an offense HE is not familiar with? What does Walker know about offensive game planning and getting backs/WRs and the Oline to come together in concert on the field and the QB knowing what play to check to at the line of scrimmage?

    I’d like to see CUSE find an OC with experience running the no huddle spreads and such.

  5. Statesman1 says:

    Would love to have him on staff but it raises questions. What kind of offense could he run? Is he capable having never run an offense or called plays? What happens to Super recruiter Wheatley with effectively two running backs coaches on the staff? Can he develope qb’s having never done so before? I don’t know guys I am skeptical. Seems like there might be better options for what we need right now but it might not be the worst move.

  6. LilJoe47 says:

    I like Walker, but I’d rather see someone with actual OC experience in the role. This is where Shafer will need the most support. I’ve heard Rice’s OC John Reagan mentioned. I think he would be a better fit. I would love to find another role for Walker though.

  7. Dr Bill says:

    I love everything that Walker brings…..but how much does he know about the spread, no huddle offense that we want to keep. I think we need an OC, with experience in play calling, handling QB’s and know the huddle offensive principles….

  8. Kyle says:

    Yes we need to look in the direction of a OC/QB coach especially with little experience at the position I feel as though a legit QB coach is much needed. Mike Mularkey is now available btw, talk about splashy hire…..obviously not very likely though

  9. bill says:

    I remember when Walker left as P was fired. He was not a happy camper with Gross at all, for the way coach P was fired. Do ya think he would forget that?

  10. Cuse don't luse says:

    You make a good case but the colts have simply not been able to run the ball this year why would we want him?

  11. chris says:

    I think David Walker would be a good choice on many levels as the new OC for Syracuse University Calling David Walker “a legend” stretches the reputation of a very good player for Syracuse way too far Legend description is for the likes of Floyd Little and a couple quarterbacks in our history like Graves,McNabb and down the road in fond memory of Ryan Nassib.

  12. Terry says:

    OK its time to calm down. Its time to support Coach Shafer and his staff. Also to get under Dr Gross skins to build up the SUFB program and forget about the SUBB program for a while. The move to the ACC will bring in $$$$$ for better facilities. Since the move is Football related!! Just don’t tie in both programs. After all SUBB has has its own image lately. And facilities too!! As for Walker its an interesting idea!! But Walker and Wheatley together I doubt would work. The RB position is solid because of Wheatley not the talent here so to speak. Wheatley has to stay for Shafer to have any consistency at all. If Wheatley leaves then Walker is a good choice!! So I’m not sure if Walker is the answer at OC.

    So I’m calming down-I hope and supporting Shafer and his staff and players. But if fans mock him or treat the program unfairly, I’ll mention my feelings. Look dougie was hired because of GROB’s failures and Shafer is HC now because of dougies @#*&#’s attitude. Sorry I just lost it by just mentioning his name. Go Coach Shafer and SUFB!! Time for SUBB!!

  13. Chris says:

    I have no desire for walker cuse alum great but he’s no offensive coordinator who thinks running backs coach and jumps out if their seat? I say we pick up the guy from rice or ole dominion both established o coordinators who got results outta second or third level talent, not to mention they’re spread scheme is perfect

  14. AJ says:

    here’s a list that was put together from another site:
    John Reagan, Offensive Coordinator, Rice
    Jeff Tedford, Former Head Coach, California
    Brian Scott, Offensive Coordinator, Old Dominion
    Mario Cristobal, Former Head Coach, Florida International
    Calvin Magee, Co-Offensive Coordinator/Running Backs Coach, Arizona
    Kenny Edenfield, Offensive Coordinator, Troy
    Of those guys from what I read I’d take Reagan from RICE.

  15. D.A. says:

    All good points guys. I love the SU dynamic though. And if he was calling the plays at Indy he wouldn’t want to step down to the college level. So you have to get a positional coach at the NFL level to come be your OC, or you get an OC from the college ranks at a lower level team (or has been fired and w/out a job). If Wheatly gets the OC job I’d love to see Walker take Wheat’s spot, but unfort. I don’t know why he would leave NFL for a lateral move.

  16. Shane says:

    John Reagan is a Syracuse guy so I would go with him, but that leaves out who will coach the QB’s?

  17. AJ says:

    Hearing from another site that there’s a possibility of You guys ready for this ALEX VAN PLEAT(SP) the former Bills QB who hand Hackett a copy of the old K-GUN Playbook that the bills use to run. So what are your thoughts DA and forum?

  18. Al Speach says:

    Hal Mumme! Why not? Think of the recruiting draw. Baggage is well behind him and his coaching legacy is really outstanding. May be ready for D1 challenge. Dome and ACC weather suited for his style.

  19. Terry says:

    Its time to forget dougie and Hackett!! Let them fade away in the fog of forgiveness!! As for OC I’d like to see a up tempo “O”. Something different!! That’s the only way to sell SUFB to talented players. SU is not that elite top 20 team. It needs to be explosive but different. A good example of that was Boise State 7/8 years ago!!

  20. DA is a moron says:

    yeah he’s a great choice…

    unless your an su fan

    all he has going for him is he used to work at su…not good qualifications

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