Syracuse made the right move in firing Scott Shafer, as I wrote Monday. So how do we break down the now emerging list of candidates?
Ed Orgeron: When a guy with that name recognition says he’s highly interested, it raises eyebrows. He’s a master recruiter, and will always have a job in college football because of it. The players also loved him at USC when he took over on the interim and won down the stretch. But there’s a reason he doesn’t have a head gig. He’s considered to have heavy baggage. Coach O has been known to enjoy the night life a little too much. Administrators don’t trust that to run programs even though he has great personal skills. Coyle won’t take a risk like that in this hire.
Lane Kiffin: Nice name, Doc Gross had a twinkle in his eye for him before, but never happening. Kiffin is not going from play-calling at Alabama to a three-win program in the outer reaches of the ACC. If Kiffin comes back the sense is he will wait for a good option, and until then rehabilitate his image by winning big every year with the Tide.
Scott Frost: The temptation is obvious when you’re talking about a young mind from Oregon. You want a guy who has new ideas, and is dynamic in his style. I’ve always felt the controlled climate inside the Dome gave SU a homefield advantage it never exploits. Throw it 70 times, recruit athletes, tell QBs you’ll play indoors at 65 degrees six times a year. Frost’s lack of recruiting knowledge for the northeast is a concern. But he does have some street cred since he played.
Mike Sanford, Lincoln Riley: With the number of openings this year, it’ll be fascinating to see if these guys get looks from decent programs – and how good those jobs are. Kliff Kingsbury, PJ Fleck and Justin Fuente have shown you can grab national headlines by being a trendy, young, hip thirty-something. I tend to like the idea of skewing young, getting the best, brightest new mind out there. You need someone who thinks outside the box to instill some life into SU, and you have to understand if the next guy wins 8 games a year for three seasons and then leaves for a better job, you’ve elevated the program in doing so.
Doug Marrone: The crazy thing is this actually isn’t that crazy. Marrone left scorched Earth from Bills fans with the way he departed, but not SU fans. He would be embraced. He may also have killed his shot at being an NFL head coach ever again because of his depature and failed power play in Buffalo. College might be his destiny, and where better to rehab his image than SU where he knows he can win? The problem is Coyle will want to hire his own man, and not dig up a skeleton from the recent past. It won’t happen. It would help me move the back stock of “Teach Me How to Dougie” tees.
Wild Cards: Les Miles. No chance he’d take SU’s opening. He’ll have much better options if he’s fired.
Charlie Strong. Same deal. The Miami gig could be his, and Syracuse would never be on his radar.
Al Golden: An insider mentioned this name to me and piqued my interest. He’s available, he’s recruited the northeast when he coached Temple. He’s helped put Temple on the map, and was weighed down by years of frustration with the NCAA probe at Miami. He had a winning season in three of his four full seasons at Miami, and never had less than 6 wins. He runs a clean program, and would have far lower expectations and more patience at SU than in So Fla. His rep isn’t great right now because of the thrashin by Clemson that got him fired, as well as the banners that flew over Canes games. But I think Golden might be the perfect hire actually. He’s not an unknown. He knows the area. He can win (six or more wins in his last six full seasons). Why isn’t Golden getting more love?
Posted: Damon Amendolara