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Syracuse Coaching Search: Cross Off Edsall, Dave Warner is Intriguing

When I wrote yesterday about Syracuse’s potential coaching candidates, I didn’t include Randy Edsall. But we should address him here. I don’t think there’s any chance Mark Coyle goes with him. Edsall is not an easy guy to get along with. He’s a hard ass, and unless you have a hugely successful track record, a new AD is not going to want to deal with that.

Unless it’s a slam dunk he’s not going to want to inherit a troublesome coach like Edsall. Crazy Randy pulled a Scott Shafer before he was fired, getting all worked up about some coaching questions, scolding the media, and storming off. I’ve interviewed Edsall in person before. He’s exactly as you might imagine. Stuffy, business-like, and a little too eager to tell you how smart he is. I would imagine Nick Saban is like that in person too. But I always thought Edsall’s arrogance didn’t fit the amount of success he’s had. To be fair what he did at UConn is impressive. He took a brand new program, within 7 years had them winning the Big East, and then eventually in a Fiesta Bowl (which still seems impossible).

Once he stepped up weight classes though, Edsall’s star faded. He had two atrocious seasons to begin at Maryland (combined 6-18, just 3 wins in the ACC). In 4+ seasons with ther Terps he went 10-23 in conference, with a Military and Foster Farms Bowl apperance. Would SU take a 7-5 Foster Farms Bowl right now? Yeah. But with the headache of dealing with Edsall’s intense (and unflexible) personality, Coyle won’t go there. Edsall also doesn’t light up the SU fan base, so you won’t win the popularity contest either. Edsall has become a villain because of his style, attitude and coaching UConn. I know I brought up Al Golden, and maybe you draw a parallel between the two. But Golden had more success at Miami (6+ wins every year, a 9 win campaign) than Edsall at Maryland, and is an imminently likeable person to deal with.

I do find Dave Warner a fascinating candidate. He’s the long-time assistant to Mark Dantonio at Michigan State AND he played at SU. He was the starting quarterback for the Orange between 1979-81, and took them to an Independence Bowl during the not-so-good old days. He’s the co-offensive coordinator and helped lead the attack last year to one of the best seasons the Spartans have ever had offensively. There’s no doubt Connor Cook makes everyone look smarter at MSU. And this year, the Spartans haven’t exactly wowed anyone with their offensive theatrics. But we all agree knowing the Syracuse culture – and the hurdles that come with the job are crucial for success at SU. I think there’s a reason Coach P and Doug Marrone made it work, while Greg Robinson and Shafer did not. (Granted Shafer was an assistant when he was promoted, but Coach P and Marrone had Syracuse DNA). You need to know the region, and have a connection to area high school coaches.

I also think an offensive-oriented coach is the right move for SU. As I’ve mentioned before, SU has plenty of hurdles. Location, weather, lack of in-state talent, aging Carrier Dome, underwhelming recent history. The one thing you should make a strength is playing indoors. Turn the Dome into a reason to come to ‘Cuse. You can’t sell a kid on the atmosphere because there’s 30,000 people there. But if you took advantage of controlled conditions and told a QB, “Hey, we’re gonna throw in 70 times” you’d be able to at least create an identity. That would help draw big wideouts that wanted to put up numbers, and then you bring up Marvin Harrison and Rob Moore from the glory years. You’d also easily give the fan base something to get excited about. Attendance has been an issue. As long as you’re going to spend 3 1/2 hours inside the Dome on a fall Saturday, let’s give the people some highlights.

Think of it as Texas Tech Lite. Sure, you’re not recruiting Texas. But the Red Raiders had to separate themselves from Texas, A&M, OU and Okie State in that region (to a lesser extent TCU and Baylor). So Mike Leach created Air Raid. You’re the only Power 5 team to play in a Dome. Instead of allowing it to be a negative, turn it into a positive. Most of the ACC is warm weather locales anyway, so you’re rarely playing outdoors in the snow or the wind. If the next man isn’t Warner, hopefully he wants to recreate the offense.

Posted: Damon Amendolara

 

 

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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