Syracuse’s spring football 2011 is in full gear and here at The Fizz, we’re jumping in knee deep. It opened with the fascinating return of Shane Raupers and has included the frustrating immaturity of Brice Hawkes. As discussed in the FizzCast, the wideout battle is gonna be a fun one. Jarrod West, Adrian Flemming and Jeremiah Kobena are looking like productive, big targets to have.
- Listen to the FizzCast: 5 Keys to the Spring (21:00 mark)
But more interestingly, the skill players Groobers recruited aren’t looking so bad. Let’s consider the depth chart as it stands, and check out some of the positions.
- QB: Ryan Nassib (Groobers Guy)
- RB: Antwon Bailey (GG)
- TE: Nick Provo (GG)
- WR: Marcus Sales (GG)
- WR: Van Chew (GG)
Everyone skill position starter on offense was recruited by Greg Robinson. The stars of the Pinstripe Bowl were Sales and Delone Carter, who churned out a fine career in Orange and will be drafted in a few weeks.
In fact, SU had some great individual talents while Robinson was in charge. Mike Williams, Curtis Brinkley, Art Jones, Andrew Robinson (for the Louisville game at least) all contributed in big ways, which makes it even more pitiful that SU fell to the depths that it did. Consider this: three of the four players mentioned are in the NFL right now.
So why couldn’t Groobers get that talent to translate into wins? The switch to a system that required a completely new offensive line didn’t help. Neither did the offensive coordinator carousel (four in the last five years). Discipline was also absent: players did what they wanted, and didn’t have the same attention to improving off the field, like in the weight room.
As soon as Groobers was on the hot seat, recruits stopped coming to Syracuse until Marrone was hired. SU got caught in a trap of poor coaching that sent the team spiraling.
Most of the guys on this list (Nassib, Sales, and Chew) didn’t get moving until Marrone came on board. Chew was a stick, Sales didn’t practice hard, and nobody knew how to pronounce Nass-ibb’s last name.
Enter The Dougie: All three have blossomed into important players for a 2011 club that is expected to make big strides on offense. They have all made a commitment to the weight room and the practice field, and the dividends were most recently played out in a Pinstripe Bowl victory.
There are some forgotten, discarded players along the way like Bruce Williams and Lavar Lobdell, who make you wonder “What if he had a couple years in the weight room and Marrone discipline?” But in the end, it doesn’t matter. As great as those two five-star guys could have been, the past is the past.
Spring football is now, and there is still a sliver of Groobers’ influence on the program. The good influence, if it can be believed.
Posted: Ted Conroy