Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Instant Analysis: Scott Shafer Reported to be Next Syracuse Coach
Current Syracuse defensive coordinator Scott Shafer will be named the new Syracuse head football coach according to Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports. The move makes a lot sense for a number of reasons, the most important of which is that it will allow us to make millions of Schaefer Beer references.
While there has been no official word from the University, it's a move that's been widely speculated about today. Let's take a look at the pros and cons.
* It keeps continuity going in a clearly ascending program. It will give the program a chance to retain most of the coaching staff, especially since Marrone is looking for NFL experience as he assembles a staff in Buffalo.
* Hiring Shafer affords them the best opportunity to keep the current recruiting class together. While small, it includes two promising quarterbacks and some JUCO guys that have the chance to help immediately. A long search and a new regime could have led to a ton of defections. Recruiting is so damn sleazy.
* He's proven himself to be an excellent defensive coordinator, using creative schemes to get the most out of what has been an undersized defense. When your starting linebackers weight 60 pounds less than Sebastian Janikowski and you can still stop people - that's impressive.
* By all accounts he's a fired up, emotional guy. We saw first hand this year how this team responds to emotion from its leader.
* He came in with Marrone, he understands the culture that has been created here and has been a part of creating it. That culture has turned around a program on life support.
* He'll come cheap. Yesterday he was potentially looking at unemployment. He's not negotiating a contract from a position of strength, especially as a first time head coach.
* He was a college quarterback and as a guy who studies offenses for a living, he should have a good idea of what he wants the offense to look like. Ideally he will be able to keep Nate Hackett as the offensive coordinator -- which will be important since the offense is losing a lot of key players from this year's team.
* He's been coaching college football for 20 years. The coaching fraternity is small - having been in the college game for two decades, he's likely got a long list of contacts he can tap to fill out missing parts of the coaching staff. At a minimum SU needs a special teams coordinator and the program will surely have a few more vacancies to fill.
* Have you seen some of the names that were being tossed around?
* He knows when your boss makes a joke - you laugh.
* He's never been a head coach anywhere, at any level. The last defensive coordinator Daryl Gross hired who had never been a head coach before at any level -- his name was Greg Robinson.
* He's never been an offensive coach before and there's no guarantee Hackett stays. I could see him heading back to Buffalo as a QB coach. Hell, even if Hackett does stay, let's not forget when SU was 2-4 people weren't sending the 33 year old love letters.
* It's late to be finding and hiring staff. There is only a month until signing day and if all or part of the offensive staff leaves, SU could be in real trouble on that side of the ball. Finding quality assistants that don't have jobs won't be easy and this task is made tougher since it's long been rumored that working as an assistant as SU isn't exactly the way to get rich. Hiring Shafer could lead to a big step back on offense.
* He's an emotional guy. While it's true I've listed that as a good thing, it's a fine line between emotion and being stark raving mad. You add a fiery personality to the increased pressure that comes with being a head coach and you never really know what you're going to get.
* There doesn't appear to have been much of a search. Shafer's name has never come up in connection with other head coach opportunities. Did SU panic and not do enough due diligence in finding the next guy?
Personally I like the move. It makes a lot of sense, especially if there's a plan/hope to retain the offensive staff and continue the uptempo, successful offense that set records this year. Hiring a coach is one giant crap shoot and considering the time of year, SU's resources and position in the college football world, and the fact that what we've seen from Scott Shafer in four seasons has generally been outstanding work, I'm comfortable going with a guy we know, and a guy that knows the program.
Good luck Coach Shafer and thank you for opening the door for years of shitty beer jokes. God we love shitty beer jokes. Look, when Basil Rathbone "endorses" the Syracuse football coach, you can do no wrong.