Thursday, November 29, 2007

An Idiot's Analysis of the Coaching Situation

So we know Greg Robinson is staying and we know that ultimately Darryl Gross made the call. I haven't gone through any of the media reports yet this morning, but after a night to reflect (and watch the SU hoop team play no D - more on that later) here is my speculation for why Gross kept him - and if you can't anonymously speculate on the internet, then what good is the medium really?

When the Good Doctor came to Syracuse, the football team was suffering from a bad cold. Sometimes the cold was really bad and the patient would suffer things like a 4-8 season, sometimes the cold receded to a mere case of the sniffles (6 or 7 wins). Gross had to decide how to treat this condition and his course of treatment turned out to be hiring Greg Robinson. Sadly this has nearly killed the patient. Now Gross is trying to figure out the best way to save the patient's life, and since he just treated a head cold with radical chemotherapy and the patient is near death, he knows he can't screw up again.

Simply put, I believe that Gross knows Robinson isn't a good head coach. Hell, he knows he isn't even a competent head coach, the appalling numbers, both on the field and at the ticket office speak loudly to that fact. He took a 6-6 team and promptly went 1-10 with them and it hasn't been much better since. Robinson's realistic ceiling, even with exceptional talent (which he doesn't have) is 5 or 6 wins, which is 5 or 6 wins below what Gross was talking about as a goal when he first showed up on campus 3 years ago. By any reasonable standard, firing Greg Robinson is justified.

In looking at how to fix the situation, Gross decided he couldn't risk making a bad situation worse. It's like when a doctor decides not to operate until the overall health of the patient improves - because surgery when a person is at their weakest point could kill them.

If Gross canned Greg Robinson and ended up hiring Greg Robinson Part II, that would kill the program and Gross' job, and that represented too big a risk for the Good Doctor to take. I believe he's decided to keep Robinson around another year, until the program his healthy enough to handle a major operation, and here's why:

* The cost to buy out the Robinson and the staff meant that whoever was brought in was virtually GUARANTEED to be there for the life of the contract.

* Convincing someone to come work for a guy who's fired 2 coaches in 3 calendar years is not an easy sell, so in addition to ponying up big bucks to get someone, that person would be getting a 5 year deal minimum.

* With 12 coaching vacancies to date (and more may be coming) the competition to land a good coach is stiff.

* For a variety of reasons, a lot of the guys coach P received commitments from in his last two years are not still with the team, leaving little depth in the upper classes. To essentially lose another recruiting class because of the firing would put the next guy, who Gross ABSOLUTELY NEEDS to succeed, in a terrible spot talent wise.

So given the financial considerations related to the buy out of Robinson, the possibility of having to buy out the contract of a new coach, the fact that Gross wasn't comfortable with who he could get to come here and what talent that person would have to work with, I believe he thought it was best to let Robinson stay here another year (and again, this is all just my opinion, I have no inside knowledge of any of it).

By keeping Robinson he gets another year he gets a smaller buy out in 2008, another full recruiting class, the perception in the football community that he gave Robinson a fair chance, and the opportunity next year to be in a better position to hire someone who is capable of true success. The question is, will anyone still be around to watch?

I could be wrong, but that's how I see it. I do have one suggestion for Dr. Gross for next year - figure out how to paint those aluminum benches in the dome - there's going to be a lot of empty ones glaring back at you.

1 comment:

Jason said...

The real question is....Will the Russianator pony up for season tickets again next season?

As a diehard fan i suspect he will, and I respoect that immensely!

I also suspect there will be a lot of noon game tailgates for at least one more year.