Who’s Driving The Train? It’s Not Just Marrone & Hackett Who’ll Affect SU

Ryan Nassib’s grasp of the offense may be a bigger loss than Hackett leaving.

Beyond the Combine.com

Now that Scott Shafer is officially the head coach at Syracuse, the eyes of Orange nation have shifted to offensive coordinator. We all know the story. Nathaniel Hackett was going to stay at SU as the OC until Doug Marrone asked him to slide down I-90 west to Buffalo. Like Marrone, it’s hard to blame him for wanting to pursue the height of his profession. Now, what to do with replacing him?

This question is far more complicated than some people believe, but also very simple. Daryl Gross has been clear. He wants continuity as he told Syracuse.com.

“We have put our focus on the system we’re running and not so much the guy running it. We will not have a new guy with a new system. Scott is committed to the current system. It will continue to be fast, up-tempo, spreading it out at times, going West Coast at times and running the ball when that is working… just what we’re doing. Whoever comes in is going to have that philosophy, because it’s a lot of fun for the players and the fans. That’s what Scott wants to do.”

Gross is referring to whoever replaces Hackett, however the player running it will be far more important. One day that will likely be Zach Allen. We can’t forget the offense that landed Marrone and Hackett in the NFL was designed around Ryan Nassib.

For 3 years we wondered why Syracuse wouldn’t go up-tempo. Nassib was at his best in the hurry up and finally we got our wish with a total redesign weeks before the season started. It worked because it played to Nassib’s physical strengths (strong arm, quick release) and mental capacity to run it.

Nassib was exceptional pre-snap. When things didn’t go according to plan in his sophomore and junior years, plays disintegrated. He had happy feet, threw to the wrong team and SU abandoned the run way too often. This year the attack was designed around quick decisions and balance. Nassib flourished and when the offense caught up (including Hackett calling the plays), SU went 6-1 and beat WVU in Yankee Stadium.

Nassib’s intellect allowed him to learn a brand new offense in less than a month which is abnormal. The offense also forced him to make quick decisions, and that’s brings us back to Allen.

By all accounts, Allen is a smart kid. Trent Dilfer doesn’t pick dummies for the Elite 11. That said can Allen pick up a college offense like this quickly? The more coaching the next quarterback needs, the slower the system works. Whoever it is, he won’t have the same comfort Nassib enjoyed by this season.

The candidates are aplenty, but no matter who is offensive coordinator the mandate from above is run an up-tempo system with balance and make it look like Marrone and Hackett never left. In the end though, players play and coaches coach. Which is why the loss of Nassib could mean far more than Hackett’s departure.

Posted: Craig Hoffman

41 Comments on this Post

  1. I have supported Ryan through his years here. dougie,media(even DA and Axe you did it) and fans constantly badgered Ryan and his play really until mid-season this year!! At times you/they forgot the main reason SU had two 8 win seasons in 3 yrs was Ryan’s doing. I feel dougie and Hackett knew the QB situation is FAR below Ryan’s abilities and thats why they left-NO DOUBT!! Whose relacing RYAN?? There might be better athelets! But no where near a better passer! Not picking on them! Mental play will be at a test with the remaining talent. I’m kinda excited about Allen, but he hasn’t touch a ball here as of yet!! OL and WR are issues to. But most of all the NEW OC has to be a QB professer for any sucess coming SU’s way in 2013!!

  2. @Craig Hoffman;

    Is there some sort of NCAA rule saying that the quarterbacks and receivers aren’t allowed to get together and practice during the off season? If there isn’t then why not allow them to get together and get the routes down and build chemistry between one another so when the season comes everyone will be on the same page.

    Craig you might be right by telling us all about your concerns with the offense,but I for one just don’t see a drop off like everyone is saying.

    The running game behind Jerome Smith,Prince Tyson Gulley and Georg Morris III is going to be in full force again in 2013. The passing game with either Zach Allen or Charlie Loeb at quarterback throwing to the likes of Quinta Funderburk and Ron “Sugar Bear” Thompson along with Ashton Broyld working from the slot position will make the Syracuse Football team a force to be reckoned with in 2013. Again,just being honest here I really don’t see a drop off at all. The other thing that I’ve noticed is,with Marrone and Hackett leaving I haven’t read or heard anything about losing our recruits the way we lost the class back when Coach P was let go. Not a word!!!! They just might be telling us all that they like the direction Shafer is headed with the team,that they have integrity and swagger that will put this team on the national map again.

    I’m looking forwards to the 2013(10-2) compaign,aren’t you?

  3. EO is history and 2 others (one verballed and one undecided) are looking else where!! And maybe others to?? All of these are because there are coaching changes!! Not because of Coach Shafer!!

  4. KevMonstah

    Whoever the OC is, they cannot pigeonhole the QBs they have into the same type of offense that Nassib was capable of running without working them hard through it. Even if Hackett was coming back, there’s a reason Nassib was a three year starter and why the other guys didn’t get any PT: he could do it; no one’s sure the others can. SU has tried previously many times to use a system that fits one QB greatly but not any others without changing, and it results in a crummy offense. Yes, SU has what seems to be a lot of talent at the skill positions, and plenty of options at QB. I’d be happy if they went to a straight I-formation offense provided it used the QB effectively and WORKS. Everyone would. Plugging a non-capable QB into the exact same sets as Nassib just ran for three years is probably a disaster in the making. They don’t need to run an uptempo offense and plays every twelve seconds, they just need an offense that works, and by working you get 400+ yards a game and 30ppg. [So long as it isn’t a George Deleone offense from the stone age, most SU fans will be happy]


  5. So two OC candidates I heard recently are very ineresting. One is Alex Van Pelt. He is an NFL guy, but he played in the NFL as a QB and was also a PITT QB who broke a lot of Dan Marino’s records and had a ten year playing career. He is from Pittsburgh, which is pretty good recruiting ground, so he knows the area. I would worry about him being enticed at some point by his alma mater, especially if he’s successful at SU.

    The other is Jeff Jagodzinski. This guy scares me a little, but his resume is great. He was OC at BC under Tom O’Brien, he was OC at Green Bay, with Farve and Rogers at QB. While HC at BC, he changed the system to a faster aired out attack that put his QB Matt Ryan in the spotlight. Jags was the OL coach at Atlanta from 03-06 and his involvement with Ryan is one of the reasons the Falcons went with Ryan to replace Vick. While at BC he was in the ACC and went 20-8 in two seasons. Granted the cupboard was not bear when he got there, but those two seasons included an ACC Atlantic Div. Championship. He has been hanging around Atlanta for the last few years after he and Raheem Morris didn’t see eye to eye at Tampa Bay. I am not saying either of these guys are the answer, but I also heard they were both recommended by Hackett.

  6. Having a true freshman QB the offense is not a good sign for a program. I think a redshirt year is not a bad idea. Give the 5th year QB Loeb a shot.

    *I think Shafer is a great hire. I’m glad Gross didn’t over think this hire and go crazy left field.

  7. home and away schedule released – no dates tho


    @ FSU
    @ Maryland
    @ NC State
    Wake Forest
    Pitt (primary cross over)
    @ GT (rotating cross over)

  8. Still no matter what ya think the QB position at SU will not nearly be as effective as this year. After today’s presser I love Shafer. A honest coach for a change compared to the two HC coaches before him. But he better get a QB coach in here to develop a quality QB for SU!! What QB’s SU has are very limited!! Good luck Coach Shafer you’ll need for your QBs.

  9. Cuse Don't Luse

    @Who are the 2 recruits I’ve been interested to find out haven’t heard much on anybody leaving I’m assuming the undecided one is laray smith?

  10. @Cuse Don’t Luse;

    Laray Smith hasn’t decided yet but the other recruit is Augustus Edwards who decommitted and was taking looks at other colleges(Rutgers). I think that he realized after Marrone left his chances of starting next season were diminished a bit. I’m still hoping that Syracuse goes after and gets OT Jaylon Hunter,another JUCO player out of Yuma AZ.

    I thought during Coach Shafer’s press conference yesterday he said that Syracuse had another 8-9 scholarships to offer. However he didn’t say as to wither that was because the(15)recruits already committed had changed their minds or not. I hoping that the 8-9 scholarships are additions to what has already committed. Wouldn’t that be great?

  11. This is to all of the nay-sayers who didn’t believe this past season.

    Please go to the ESPN web page and click on NCAAF,under the picture of the 3 coaches click “Schlabach’s All-Bowl Team” link and look who made the team.


  12. Cuse don't luse

    Really never so a fit for another rb Morris has 4 years if eligibility but don’t want to crowd the backfield maybe get one nwxtyeae

  13. Ron –

    Sorry I’m just now getting back to your comment/question. There is no rule against that. Players can do whatever they want together so long that coaches aren’t involved. I’m pretty sure they can even do it at the team facility.

    I’m with Kev on pigeonholing the QB. You’ve got to find out what his strengths are, playing to them and then you work on his weaknesses in practice to eventually be able to run your full scheme. If Allen is the guy, the growth of the offense over the next four years could be really really fun to watch.

    That said, the offense this year will be based on the running game. Aaron, I’m not looking for Loeb. I’ve seen him in practices, etc and it’s not pretty. I’d rather take a few lumps with Allen knowing he’s going to be better by the end of the season.

  14. CuseOnly

    I think the system they ran last season was the most simplistic hurry up K-Gun offense possible. It isn’t rocket science and any of the QB’s we have can run it. How effectively remains to be seen.

    One thing I do know is that every QB on the roster is an athlete that can run like an RB (except Loeb) which will add another dimension to the offense that we did not have with Nassib. Granted they haven’t shown the ability to throw as well as Nassib. At least not yet.

    I think Hunt wins the starting job with Allen redshirting his first year to put on some weight.

    I think the offense will be even more dangerous.

  15. CuseOnly

    Zach Allen flipped and will be attending TCU.

    Let the meltdown commence.

  16. Dr. bill

    with coaching changes..there are recruits who also change their minds. Why is this so distressing to everyone? Had to know that was possible when the coach left. Let’s stop crying, and get behind the new staff. Shafer said it best himself….he wants kids who want to play for Cuse… if recruits want to leave, let them go..but they better not go to someone that we play. That is in essence what he said. If the head coach is not worried….why are we as fans worried?

  17. CuseOnly

    I never said I was stressed at all…did I?? The meltdown comment was for others who I am sure will meltdown very shortly.

    I personally think 1 QB in this class is fine, Austin Wilson will be a heck of a QB if he stays.

    There are also some other good QB’s that are still available and have not committed yet.

    Terrie is gonna blow a gasket though cause he is a douche nozzle.

  18. Dr. bill

    CuseOnly: You are correct I think, one QB in this class is fine. Allen had a lot of options….he lives in big 12 country….do you really blame him? He loved Hackett and Marrone….and they bailed on him….I don’t blame him at all. The door is open for Wilson. Too his credit, he also tried to bond with this year’s recruits in spite of all the attention allen got.
    Getting the right OC…is key right now. Next year is going to be a big experiment no matter who the QB is….Nassib proved that a big time QB can carry a program…Nassib played big this year…we need a guy who can make an impact like Teddy Bridgewater. I s the QB from Florida that decommitted from SFU interested in the Cuse…..let’s go get him now!!!

  19. CuseOnly

    One thing I can say for the staff at SU is that they are amazing judges of talent.

    They do not rely on the “star system” like most other lazy recruiters do. Only 1 recruiting class “rated” in the top 60 and we destroy teams with far better facilities, higher “rated” talent.

    I have faith in this staff with SMFS at the helm.

    Yeah that’s “Scott Mutha F’in Shafer”!!

  20. This so called class kid(allen) committed to SU. No legals here,but he did verbal. Now they see the attention(like EO) and change ships. This kid is classless as dougie!! Homers like Ronette and kids like Cuseonly will protect dougie and this kid. I like Coach SS and he said if they don’t want to be here SU don’t want them either. Now Ronette and Cuseonly(high chair included)are you still fully behind this kid and dougie too. Don’t blow your gasket it might get you arrested!! LMAO!!

  21. CuseOnly

    Terrie…lol!! Doesn’t take much to draw out FloridaSteve does it?

    High Chair is even funnier, did you come up with that all by your garbageman self ??

    I am probably older than you are.

    Go back to mommy’s basement you 50 year old garbageman and clean up the hotpocket wrappers you left on the floor. Before your 70 year old mom ground you from the computer.

  22. Smitty Section 129

    This hurts bad, really bad. Thanks Marrone as fast you brought this program back your selfish departure is killing us. Zach Allen decommitting is like what Ray Rice did. This kid was the future. Must be more to it as other recruits must also be changing their minds to.Thanks Doug for leaving all us diehard fans and the school and players hanging out to dry so you can leave for your dream job. Benadict Marrone

  23. @Terrie,Terrie,Terrie;

    You see Terrie your biggest problem is putting people down that you know nothing about,never have met,and probably will never meet. But I know a man with your wisdom knows it all. Your comment about Zack Allen being worthless is absolutely asinine.

    Just goes to show the rest of us just how freaking stupid you really are.

  24. @Terry;

    We still have Wilson coming in from Penn. to play quarterback. Your forgetting Terrie that we have 4 quarterbacks already in house that will be fighting for the starting position. everyone got on Zach side and thought that he would be the starter for next year. I was the only one that was saying that he wasn’t going to be the chosen one until 2014.

    But with that said I hope Shafer and crew goes to Florida on Sunday and talks with uncommitted Asiantii Woulard. I think that we have a real good shot at this 4 star dual threat quarterback.

    @Smitty Section 129;

    Calm down Smitty,the sky isn’t falling and everything is going to be ok for next year.

  25. @Terry;

    Please let me respond to your point on Doug Marrone. I’m the type of man who takes another mans word as gospel when we discuss a subject. I try to be honest with the person in front of me and hopes that he/she is honest with me in return. But I guess you wouldn’t know anything about that now would you.
    I’ve had numerous opportunities to talk face to face with Coach Marrone and I came away from those discussions knowing him to be an honest person and I believed him when he told us all that Syracuse was his “DREAM JOB”. Now your telling us all that a person can’t have more than one dream. Give me a break will you,you idiot. Like I said earlier,who’s the one laughing now that he has $20-30 million in the bank.

    What a person said “YESTERDAY” and lives by it “TODAY” will probably get changed “TOMORROW” after they’ve had a chance to talk it over with someone.

    Your such a small,closed minded person Terrie. Please get lost?

  26. Hey, Fizz writers, have you fallen asleep for the last couple of days?? Lots of news on recruits reneging, down to 2-3 choices for O.C., yet no updates??

  27. Cuse don't luse

    This has to be shafers fault we can get the best damn coordinator but its not going to matter if we don’t have the recruits lets cut our losses and sign one already

  28. CuseOnly

    LOL…not Shafer’s fault. You don’t make a coaching hire because you want to keep an 18 year old kid in your recruiting class.

    You make a coaching hire because he is the right man for the job and can get you other 18 year old kids going into the future.

    The right OC hire will pay dividends for years. This kid might never have seen the field, nobody knows. No recruit is a sure thing, no matter how hyped.

  29. Cuse Don't Luse

    i agree there but allen seemed to be the glue now that he is gone so is augustus edwards laray smith and other offensive players in this class I understand that we have QB options but none have them have seen snaps

  30. Greg hit it on the head!! Great presser from new coach and HS QB(#1 recruit by some but not now) whines and pulls his verbal. Both huge stories, but no word from the DA posse!! Ronette most fans and including me doesn’t care about how many times you hugged and kissed dougie. He’s a fraud that might leave this program like GROB did. I hope not?? But already with his selfish drive for the riches and leaving his dream job behind at the same time. 3 of the top recruits for 2013 might say good bye because of his greed and lying!! Nice going away gift from dougie??? Matter of fact SU has a NEW excited coach that really didn’t make any phony speeches as of yet. Your constant excitement over an x-coach who cares less about the SU program and more about his wallet is your god given right. But to most SU fans in the back of our minds we are concerned. Yet you don’t see us laughing. We only see you and other dougie fans laughing, because you feel he is justified in his actions.

    Mr Stupid!!

  31. My father once told me if he could make $1.00 an hour that he would consider himself to be a rich man. Well he surpassed that goal and guess what,he started in saying he wished he could make $2.00 an hour.

    Things and people change on a consistent basis daily,Terrie. The only thing that doesn’t change is you understanding of integrity and honesty of which you have neither.

    Just remember it’s because of people like you that don’t know enough to keep their mouths shut that forced Coach P out of here got us GROB and have now forced probably the best damn coach out of here since Ben Schwartzwalder.

    And the thing that bothers me most is the fact that you and others still don’t get the damage that your bitching have caused the program.

  32. Dear ronette: Your man showed no integrity, honesty or insight for the SU program in the last few weeks. He jumped the ship for his own good!!! $$$$ or not it doesn’t matter. Every day something happens that dougie had his fingers in. And SUFB is smacked in the face with it. And now the majority of SU fans see that!! It will take time for the SU community to get over this back stabbing of dougie. We will go on. History will judge dougie and so far he failed his history test. Support Coach Shafer!! At least Coach Shafer seems more down to earth and no so moody as your man-dougie!! GO SU!! PS!! I just ordered my own t-shirt to memorize the dougie dump in orange with blue lettering. It says “I survived the dougie DUMP in 2013”.

  33. @Terry;the way that your carrying on here(babbling)leads one to believe that your really a female that’s going through her change-of-life time. Your all over the place with your comments,if anything try real hard to stay on point ok. It would really help when trying to put answers to your stupid comments/remarks.

  34. Cuse don't luse

    All I know is next year will be interesting and we need to accept the word if it happens moving conferences won’t be easy

  35. CuseOnly

    @Terrie er…FloridaSteve.

    At least you signed you post correctly as Mr. Stupid.

    Good Day Sir!

  36. Ronette its call your babbling!!! LOL!! Hey ya want a t-shirt?? Your starting to make sense or miss your meds!!!

  37. Was it Ron or Russell that promised to leave the site after as we entered 2013? Wish it was Ron.

  38. @Cuse17;

    It was me. To both you and Terrie,I changed my mind and have decided to stay on just to piss you two guys off.

    If I listened to Terrie,I wouldn’t have had a choice.

  39. Welcome back! Love the new look. Miss the easy Twt link (not creeping’). Very otmpiistic despite the tough schedule. Northwestern is a key game. So is Rutgers. Do I smell a road trip. Go Orange!

  40. Heya i’m for the first time here. I found this board
    and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out much.

    I hope to provide something back and help others such
    as you aided me.

  1. […] Nassib graduating is Orange‘s biggest […]

Comments have been disabled.