Syracuse’s 4 Biggest Questions Surrounding Doug Marrone’s NFL Interest

There are two unfortunate dynamics surrounding the NFL’s coaching searches for Syracuse fans. First and foremost, at least three teams are going to interview Doug Marrone for their vacancies. Secondly, even ESPN’s John Clayton mispronounced it “Marrone-ey” last night on SportsCenter. Twice. Is this what Orange Nation has to suffer through these next two weeks?

Looks like Doug will get looks from Buffalo, Cleveland and Kansas City. If you’re a Syracuse fan, this is our deal with the devil. If you could rebuild the smoldering wreckage of the Groobers Error, you’d eventually garner interest from better jobs. Marrone not only took one of the nation’s most pathetic programs in ’08 to a pair of bowl wins in just four seasons, Syracuse is clearly ascending.

  • Could Marrone win in the NFL?

So why wouldn’t owners with the Browns, Bills and Chiefs wonder if Marrone could do the same for them? Maybe he could build up losing franchises, relegated to the NFL’s second division, from the bottom and into respectable teams with a few years. These three organizations feel as hopeless and rudderless as the Orange did in ’08.

Marrone also has significant league ties from his time with both the Jets and Saints organizations. ESPN.com mentioned that Doug’s name comes co-signed from Sean Payton, Bill Parcells and Mickey Loomis. He’s 100% passion, and one would imagine that translates no matter where he goes. Pete Carroll and Greg Schiano have had immediate NFL success after their long stints in college. Marrone has NFL experience with how the pros operate behind the scenes. He’s deliberate, honest, and thorough. All qualities which would be beneficial in the league.

But all three organizations are dealing with years of losing, and desperately frustrated fan bases. Will fans in those cities be willing to throw down deposits on season tickets for a candidate with such a limited head coaching record and low national profile (one of the league’s foremost insiders is calling him Marrone-ey)? Those three franchises are looking for immediate credibility and sizzle.

  • Does Marrone have enough juice to satisfy NFL fans?

My guess is Marrone interviews really well this week, but ultimately has to wait another turn in the coaching carousel if he wants to jump to the NFL. But it also puts the ball in the court of Darryl Gross. Marrone has proven without a shadow of a doubt he is the right man for SU’s present and future. While Syracuse does not have extraordinarily deep pockets, nor a ravenous football booster side which would pony up, Gross’ biggest responsibility will be to make sure money doesn’t get in the way of Marrone feeling he has to take another job.

No schools can match NFL money. But SU must remain competitive against other universities that start flirting with Marrone. The move to the ACC will begin paying dividends. Syracuse cannot be caught allowing a program-altering coach to walk away easily.

  • What would happen to SU’s recruiting class?

If Marrone did leave for another job, what’s the ramifications on the program? You’d imagine this recruiting class would take some type of hit. Although there’s precedent to save most of it. Rutgers successfully brought back much of its ballyhooed class, despite Crazy Eyes Schiano goosing them on the eve of Signing Day. I couldn’t imagine a scenario where Marrone bolts at the 11th hour and leaves SU in that vulnerable of a position. It’s just not his style. Plus, SU’s strength of John Anselmo, Tyrone Wheatley and others should still be able to keep most of the commitments.

  • Who would take over the Orange head coaching reigns?

Who would slide in to take Marrone’s place? All season The Fizz has wondered if Scott Shafer was growing into that role. His defense was a consistent force for SU, he got the most out of the bulk of his players, and his unit played fast, aggressively and with passion. He’s still young (45 years old) and has experience as the assistant coach at Stanford where Jim Harbuagh raved about him. With a promotion for Shafer, SU would be able to keep the continuity on staff and allow many of the recruits to stay comfortable with their decision.

It’s not the ideal situation to have The Dougie interviewing for other jobs. But it means he’s had significant success dragging SU up the Hill. Now if the national media could just please learn how to pronounce his name.

Posted: D.A.


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  1. chris says:

    isn’t possible that this is in fact consistent with the staff’s message to recruits, “understand all of your options and make a decision based on the analysis?” Also, if he establishes even further his value as a coach from the perspective of the NFL, and his (and staff) ability to develop players, it will only make recruiting easier. Elite players consider their road to get to the NFL when making their college decision, and they want to know that the coaches will prepare them for a chance to play professionally.

  2. Dr. bill says:

    I think it is great for Syracuse that other people are interested in our coach. I keep saying this: Where are all of those people who swamped this site with post criticizing the Cuse for picking Marrone over: Skip Holtz…Yikes!!!!, Turner Gill…Ouch!!!!!, Mike Locksley….etc, etc. Please post and say you made a mistake..just one of you…man up!!!
    The fact that the NFL is calling more than validates Doug, even if the fan base here in CNY never embraces him. He was the right choice, has lifted the program, and we can only hope that we ante up some more cash, and hold on to him and his staff.

    Who out there can not see that the program is on the rise compared to the Grob years? People complain about no 4-5 star recruits for Doug…but he is winning with the players he recruits and the product on the field is so much better…and getting even better each year!!!!!!! I for one am happy that HCDM is being recognized, maybe the fan base will embrace him and the team, if he decides to return!!!!!!!

  3. chris says:

    “What would happen to our recruitingclas”? It goes out the door is what happens.I doubt Gross can hire anyone of celebrity and competence value high enough to keep the best from running awayas soon as their twitter explodes.with the news.

  4. Ron says:

    I just sent this e-mail to DR. Gross and would like to expand a little further on it.

    We believed in you coach,when you told us all that Syracuse was your dream job and that you had been preparing for it for years.

    Your victory over WVA on Saturday in the Pinstripe Bowl solidified your position as the Head Football Coach at Syracuse University. You’ve turned the program around by getting us on track to national prominence again. We love you coach,please don’t leave us.

    We need you here.

    DR Gross,you need to set with Nancy Cantor and the Board of Director’s and come up with a plan to keep Doug Marrone and staff here where they belong at Syracuse University.

    The university received $1.8 million for their game in the Pinstripe Bowl,another $850,000 for the game against Missouri. The university completed(early)a fund raising drive that netted them $1.billion dollars. None of the above takes in the amount of money spent by the fans at all home games at the concession stands and money from merchandise bought. You told us all that playing USC in the meadow lands would net Syracuse $2-4 million dollars more.

    The point that I’m trying to make is,the university can and should give this coaching staff more money. You can afford to give them all a raise. SO GO AHEAD AND DO IT.

    Are the powers to be at Syracuse University ready to throw all that this man and his staff have accomplished away and put us in the middle of a giant whirlpool dragging down and back into the abyss? You guys need to do something and do it fast.

  5. Smitty Section 129 says:

    My guess is that Marrone plays this out a little bit, gets the program some national exposure and it helps with recruiting when his name is being tossed out there for an NFL job. Then he tells the players, recruits and fans that he is in for the long haul and wants everyone aboard. EO and Smith sign and he gets himself and assistants a raise. Marrone is to much a class act and seems to be very loyal. I cant see him walking away from the kids and the program. Its not him.

  6. cuse309 says:

    @Ron
    Where can I find Dr. Gross’s email adress. I think everyone should be emailing him something similar. I’ve also often wondered how I can get Doug Marones email, so I can just tell him “Thank you. Thank you for restoring some of the pride. Thank you for doing it the right way, and ignoring your critics, and believing in your goal.”
    I don’t think Doug would leave this soon. He has stated that his goal is to get Syracuse back to the level it used to be at. We are not there yet, but we are getting closer, and I think Doug knows that. If here was a scale, with the G-Rob era on one end, and the late 80′s, early 90′s teams on the other end, I would definately say we have now slid closer to the 80′s , early 90′s end. Come to think of it, maybe someone should make a giant scale like that to keep up on the hill. Something Doug can see as he goes to work to remind him that there is still more work to do.

  7. WSaltine says:

    It will be very difficult for Coach Marrone to walk away from any NFL team throwing BIG money at him. However, as good a job as he has done at Syracuse, I do not sense that he will leave. We are a much better FB team, but there is more to accomplish and in the end I think Marrone will be aboard to lead us to the promised land.

  8. bronxbound says:

    Calm down please, Coach Marrone can finally see the light at the end of the long dark losing tunnel that Gross created with GRob, no way he leaves for NFL. Three reasons:

    1. He has to begin from scratch a major rebuilding process with Bills, Browns etc.
    2. He just has to check in with his beloved Coach Mac, who jumped to the Pats, lasted 2 years and then had to watch Coach P enjoy back to back 10 wins seasons while his Pats bombed.
    3. Just like 2 years ago when TN rumors were in the air, he snuffed them early, stating he is a Syracuse guy PERIOD.

    Maybe he will sniff the NFL just long enough to get SU to increase his pay, but Coach Marrone wants to outlast Gross (whom he has to force himself to get along with) and find a place in Syracuse history alongside JB….no way he really wants to take on an NFL mess after he finally cleaned up the mess SU Football mess.

  9. Ron says:

    @cuse309;
    if you go to the Syracuse Athletics.com web page and click on the football link,look for the staff and click it.

    We need to send the message that we don’t want our coach leaving.

  10. Ron says:

    @Smitty Section 129;

    I’m praying that you’re correct about coach not leaving. To be totally honest,I’m worried,really worried.

    I really don’t know if I could take anymore BS from this administration.

  11. Dr. bill says:

    The decision to go Pro. has to be weighed by HCDM. The right NFL job would make it an easy decision with the $$$$$$$ a Pro. job would offer. He could be set for life…..if he can retain the Pro job long enough. That is a Big IF…………If Syracuse pays him some more cash, the job security in the long haul could make staying in college the smart move. ………..I think Marrone stays at the Cuse…..but we will have to pay him big time to keep him here and happy.

    Where are all the people who said he was a bum???. I just want to hear from a few of them…..come on…..The silence is amazing!!!!!!!

  12. Cuse17 says:

    No silence.. I was a doubter.. Not a hater. The season started as his previous seasons..lots of sloppy football. Penalties, turnovers, undisciplined football. The team in December would not have lost those early close games. I thought a new staff headed to the ACC with coaches with ties outside the East would be a better answer.vI was wrong!
    The team came together..good solid football with less than great talent. Both offense and defense played better football.
    DM, the coaching staff and players stuck to their game plans and finished the season playing good ball. Neither WV or the teams we beat down the stretch were much but they were wins.
    DM would be a big loss. We’d be starting over.. Again! I don’t think this talk is good for recruiting. I hope they pay him. The entire SU football budget is on the cheap! Pay him..upgrade the facilities.. Play his assistants. Give him a reason to stay..and do it soon.
    He has a family..you cant blame him for wanting to make the big NFL bucks and provide for their future. I hope SU does the right thing and soon!

  13. Denise says:

    As a parent of a player, I’m hoping that he stays. He is one of the main reasons we chose Syracuse. Guess its a waiting game now.

  14. Ron says:

    @Denise;

    Russell where are you? You haven’t posted in a long time here. Is everything alright? If you would like some company for a day or so,please let me know and I will more than happy to oblige.

    Look a female decided to join in on the conversation. We’ve both have asked for them to join the group. Well one has and I think it’s fantastic.

    Welcome Denise to the family,the guys that post here usually are decent.

  15. Terry says:

    I’m here Mr. bill and Ronette!! I still can’t see where a .500 is great. National rep for SU is no where. The media says SU is a joke because it got a BE champ tie. I don’t agree with the media on that. That was a great achievement accordingly!! But I do agree that HCDM/dougie is only “part” of the so called success. The players showed up and some of his ass. coaches saves his ass as well(Wheatley is history). For the 102Th time, I liked the hire of dougie. But you homers think this man walks on water. Hell, he’d break through the ice next year if he stays. And I think he’ll stay. Heck over 1 million a year in contracts ain’t bad for a .500 team either. But you homers don’t pay his salary either-do ya. He knows that next year could be another 2011(no QB and lack of player leadership). If he leaves its not about $$$$ its about another 2011 and he can’t take that again. They say he’s stressed out, his staff is under paided and the DOME is never filled up. Hey stupid WIN! WIN! WIN! WIN! and those things will take care of themselves. A 650/750 winning % would pack the dome not.500. Your insulting the fan base you homers. Over a million a year ain’t bad, but the NFL is much richer. Go then dougie. If you think the stress, the contracts and the fans are strange at SU try them at Cleveland, Buffalo and KC!! Good luck!! LMAO!!

  16. chris says:

    If Marrone leaves,everything positive accomplished since the Grob apocalypse will have been in vain. Get ready for more pain in the program if and when Doug announces his departure for the money waved infront of him.He will wake up after his “dream job” experience is a forgotten memory only.

  17. Jesse H says:

    All part of the plan.
    I’m hoping recruits are kept in the loop, but as someone said earlier, this very well could be Marrone helping to get Syracuse back on the map. Think about the visibility and branding that comes with being a “top 5 college to the pros coach”. He now can walk in any house and add that to his recruiting pitch. I believed the man when he said this was his dream job. I do liken him to a Boeheim in that regard as far as him building his own legacy. Also I believe his stock was higher to be an NFL head coach when he was the OC for the eventual Super Bowl winning Saints and yet he still took the Syracuse gig. I think that speaks volumes. With that out of the way, Go Bills!

  18. Orange FB fan says:

    My biggest questions are two of the ones mentioned. I am curious as to who will replace Marrone and its impact on the recruiting. But, I’d like to see the replacement continue to try and cultivate relationships in NYC. I’m a native of the city(Brooklyn) and I fully recognize that the talent pool isn’t as deep as it is in other regions. However, I like the fact that the SU program was atleast trying to establish itself as NY’s team. NYC isn’t a college sports town but continually taking in “sons of the city” may atleast help keep some interest downstate.

    I don’t think Marrone will take any of the gigs available this year but I can see the Bills taking a shot at Nassib if he is available in the 3rd round or so. HUGE reach, but K-Gun 2.0 if you give the man some good talent. Not a Bills fan but I’d atleast wish them well if Nassib is on their roster. Perhaps with a late round or UDFA Alec Lemon. Ok now I’m just going off the deep end.

  19. Al says:

    Biggest question is why AD has let it get this far. Where is the public support? Where is the new contract offer? Where is the raise for the co-ordinators. Losing HCDM at this point will be as bad a stain on DG’s reputation as his hiring of GRob. I am shocked that there has been no press release saying that ‘everything posible is being done to retain HCDM’. If this is posturing for a raise, then pay the man and his assistants and put these rumors to rest for at least the next few years. Perhaps I have missed something, but from my perspective this has been handled badly.

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