Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Dodd - Syracuse Job Unofficially Open
CBS Sportsline's Dennis Dodd, the man who just a few short weeks ago called the job of being the head football coach at Syracuse a coach killer, has now declared that with the firing of Lane Kiffin, the position is unofficially open. While there isn't anyone alive who would disagree with the sentiment that the Greg Robinson era is already over, the timing is interesting.
There is the obvious USC connection between Kiffin and SU Althletic Director Daryl Gross, so that will lead to some natural speculation. However, personally I think there's something more afoot. Say what you will about him, but Gross recognizes that getting Syracuse mentioned in the same breath as coaches like Lane Kiffin give the national media an opportunity to talk about the program in terms of how it can be resurrected, rather than focusing on how far it has fallen. He's not going to quell any of this talk, after his ESPN escapade last week, I'd be surprised if he wasn't fanning the flames behind the scenes.
Kiffin is a guy who evokes some strong feelings on both sides of the aisle of 'cuse nation. Post Standard writer David Rahme doesn't think he's the right fit, whereas fans like AJV think he's the young energetic guy that could turn the program around (see the discussion in the comments section). I'm on the fence, he certainly wouldn't be my first choice, but at this point Mrs. Butterworth represents an upgrade over what is currently in place.
Here's what we know - hiring a coach is a complete crap shoot. I don't care what anyone says, until someone gets into a position, you never know how he's going to pan out. A guy like Dennis Franchione went from being a genius and savior to calling games on ESPN radio in just a few years. People can trot out all the criteria they want to see in a new coach, but it's all just idle speculation. Even Bill Walsh didn't succeed in his last coaching stop at Stanford, it's an unpredictable business and we won't know if the next hire is the right one until it's too late -that's just the way this thing works.
So we know hiring coaches is, to some degree, a game of chance. We also know Daryl Gross has failed spectacularly with the Robinson hire, so SU fans are rightfully wary of who he will bring in next. Gross likes to take credit for hiring Pete Carroll, but I don't think I've ever heard the words "Paul Hackett" come out of the man's mouth. For anyone unfamiliar with Hacket's stay at USC, let's just say it didn't work out too well.
Lastly we know that not firing Robinson at the end of last year was a colossal mistake. As a result, Syracuse fans are so beaten down and disheartened that we can't even think straight and the season is only five games old. Any name not begining with Greg and ending with Robinson represents something that's been missing from the program for years - hope. So while we've all known since the Akron loss that SU was looking for a new head coach - CBS has officially "unofficially" declared this to be the case. Here's hoping Orange44 can post something without Donnie Webb getting all up in arms.
In addition to Kiffin, Dodd tossed out two names that have made occasional appearances on message boards - Doug Marrone, the offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints and Syracuse alum and Chip Kelly, the offensive coordinator at Oregon and a former coach at the University of New Hampshire. Both guys are known for high scoring offenses and Gross could do a lot worse - fans will cut the program a lot of slack if over the next couple of years they are losing 42-35 shoot outs and lighting up the dome scoreboard. As I've stated before, I'd like Turner Gill to be on any list because if you can make Buffalo competitive, that's nothing short of a miracle in my book.
No one knows how this thing will play out, but for the sake of the program, SU needs to "officially" cut ties with Robinson, because choosing a successor is the most important decision they have faced in the last 25 years.