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

Here’s the most glaring concerns in the face of Marrone’s interviews around the league.

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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