Sporting News had some harsh criticism for Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer, ranking him as the second-worst coach in the ACC. Coming off a 3-9 season, it makes sense that Shafer would come under fire, but ranking him 13th amongst coaches in the somewhat weak ACC seems harsh.
The only coach below Shafer is Mike London from the University of Virginia.
Amongst the 12 coaches ranked above him is Dave Clawson of Wake Forest. The Dave Clawson who led the Demon Deacons to a 3-9 record, going 1-7 in the ACC. One of these seven conference loses was a blowout, at home, to Syracuse, 30-7.
Right away it seems like Shafer should jump another coach in Clawson. Granted, 2014 was Clawson’s first year but there Wake Forest was almost a mirror image of Syracuse in 2014.
With all of that said, there can be plenty said about the job Shafer has done and how he needs to improve to get this Syracuse program back to where it needs to be to appease the fans of Central New York. The explanation of Shafer’s ranking does point out some crucial flaws and some disconcerting numbers.
A curious hire two seasons ago, Shafer hasn’t done much to change first-look opinions. The Orange have lost 11 of 16 and Shafer’s biggest win is Minnesota in the 2013 Texas Bowl. SU scored seven points or less in four losses last season-offensive futility that gets coaches fired.
This points out the biggest concern that Syracuse fans should have and that is the lackluster offense. The Orange need to be able to move the football and put up points. Tim Lester will have a full season this year and the offense should improve.
The defense was clearly the stronger side for the 2014 Orange and one would expect that to continue as Shafer is a defensive coach. However, a failure to improve the offense could put Shafer on the hot-seat as another sub-par season is sure to follow.
With all of the numbers aside, there is one thing Shafer did this off-season that every other ACC coach failed to do, recruit and land Robert Washington.
Recruiting is just as big of a part of a college coach’s job as gameday decisions and Shafer has taken a step in the right direction in that department.
Overall, Shafer has ,thus far, failed to prove himself a great coach that can bring Syracuse back into the national spotlight but he is not worth of the ranking as the 13th best coach out of 14 in the ACC.
Posted: Logan Grossman