The news is jarring. Scott Frost will take the UCF job instead of Syracuse’s (assuming Mark Coyle offered it to him). I believe Coyle did, since he interviewed Frost for the coaching opening at Boise State. Frost had fans excited, was popular among the coaching industry, and could run a fun offense. But the fact he chose an 0-12 AAC program tells you a lot about grabbing the next head coach at Syracuse.
This is embarassing for Coyle, but possibly a necessary learning moment for him. As painful as it is to admit, this is not a desirable job in college football. The losing has created apathy. There’s been major coaching turnover in the past decade. It’s not a deep recruiting area. The Dome is springing leaks. It’s considered a basketball school. Doesn’t pay a lot. Private school (meaning it’s a higher standard for admission for your recruits). Is in the same division as Clemson and Florida State. And has a hyper negative, cut throat media (that last one is a joke).
Coyle has to understand he must work twice as hard to turn the football program around. As bizarre as it is for us Syracuse fans to see someone opt for freaking Central Florida over SU, there’s a lot that makes sense if you take away the distant past. UCF has a gleaming, new stadium. It’s in one of the best recruiting areas in the country. Big, sprawling public school. They just produced a top-3 NFL quarterback (Blake Bortles), can easily compete in the AAC, and just won a Fiesta Bowl two years ago. You can be relevant and do big things at UCF. If Frost wants to run an up-tempo spread offense (Oregon Light), then getting the quarterback and athletes to do it is much easier pulling local Florida kids into a state school.
That brings us back to Syracuse. It’s why I keep harping on creating a dynamic offense. You have to figure out a way to make what you have strengths. Using #44 to bring in big time RBs and making the Dome a lab experiment for crazy quarterback numbers is what you have to work with. And it’s not like they can’t happen together. Runningbacks Onterrio Smith, Jonathan Stewart and LaMichael James (not to mention D’Anthony Thomas and LaGarrette Blount) all went onto NFL careers from the pass-happy Oregon offense.
So who’s next?
Dino Babers: Obviously Dino makes a lot of sense as the next target to get a call from Coyle. He runs an uptempo offense and was connected to the UCF job before Frost got it. If you’re Coyle you at least need to inquire. And while SU lost to UCF for Frost, one would have to think SU is a more desirable job than Bowling Green (although let’s not assume anything).
Dave Warner: Interesting that the Michigan State OC (and former Syracuse standout) is getting so little play. Maybe it’s because he’s not seen as an exciting young name, but he seems to fit SU so well. The Spartans are in the Big 10 title game right? And he ran one of the top offenses in the nation last year? I guess it’s because everyone just looks at MSU’s strength as its defense.
Chris Ash: The OSU DC is getting some run in the last 48 hours, but does Coyle want to go with an unproven defensive coach after what just happened with Scott Shafer? Would seem doubtful.
Al Golden: He’s getting absolutely no traction with SU, but doesn’t Al make sense? He won at a northeast school (Temple), has recruiting ties to New Jersey and Pennsylvania, runs a clean program, never had less than 6 wins at Miami, and is looking to rehab his image. He’s won 9 games at two different schools. Sounds like Rutgers is going after him hard. I know our lasting image is of him getting pummeled 58-0 by Clemson, but if I could guarantee you 7-5 and 8-4 seasons with Golden, wouldn’t we all take it? I think he could do that at Cuse.
Posted: Damon Amendolara