Orange football fans can only hope new Syracuse University football coach Scott Shafer’s halftime motivational speeches next fall are as effective as the one he delivered on Saturday, Jan. 12, to the 27,586 fans who attended the basketball game at the Carrier Dome.
Shafer, the successor to Doug Marrone, addressed the crowd at halftime and pleaded with the fans to get louder and more involved in the second half. It seemed to have worked: The crowd was definitely louder and livelier for the final 20 minutes as the Orange rallied for the win against Villanova. Shafer also got the crowd going by inviting the fans to help continue the turnaround started by Marrone, who left after four years to become coach of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills.
“There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t get Syracuse back to national prominence on the football field,” Shafer told the fans. “We can do great things around here.”
Shafer, 46, was Marrone’s defensive
coordinator for the past four seasons, when the Orange emerged from the
rubble of the Greg Robinson era to go 25-25 with two winning seasons and
two Pinstripe Bowl triumphs in the past three years. Shafer is the 29th
head coach in SU football history, but just the seventh since Ben
Schwartzwalder started in 1949.
Shafer, 46, was Marrone’s defensive coordinator for the past four seasons, when the Orange emerged from the rubble of the Greg Robinson era to go 25-25 with two winning seasons and two Pinstripe Bowl triumphs in the past three years. Shafer is the 29th head coach in SU football history, but just the seventh since Ben Schwartzwalder started in 1949.
“To carry on the values of integrity, commitment, excellence and teamwork and put them to action with great attitude, effort and enthusiasm are the pillars of this program,” Shafer said at his introductory news conference on Jan. 11. “The thing we will talk about most on a daily basis is just the attitude, effort and enthusiasm.”
Shafer will have his work cut out for him as the Orange will move from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season (see accompanying list of SU’s ACC opponents).
Also, with Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett shuffling off to Buffalo, recruiting was bound to take a hit and it did this past weekend. Quarterback Zach Allen, of Temple, Texas, changed his mind about joining the Orange and decided to play at Texas Tech instead. Allen was expected to be the heir apparent to SU record-setting quarterback Ryan Nassib, who will likely play in the NFL next season.
While Shafer is still searching for an offensive coordinator, the defense appears to be in good hands with Shafer’s expertise and the hiring of Chuck Bullough as defensive coordinator. Bullough, a former standout linebacker at Michigan State, worked with Shafer at Western Michigan in 2005 and was most recently a defensive assistant with the Cleveland Browns and defensive coordinator at UCLA.
“From just about the moment we met at Western Michigan, we had an instant connection because of our philosophy and values. That does not always happen in coaching,” Bullough said. “Coach Shafer is one of the most outstanding people and coaches I have been around. He is a great motivator of men. I am extremely excited to join him at Syracuse.”
While SU is picking up the pieces from Marrone’s departure, the ACC released its home and away conference matchups for 2013. Each of the 14 teams will play an eight-game conference schedule (four home, four away) that includes six division games (three home, three away) and two crossover games (one home, one away).
Syracuse is a member of the Atlantic Division and will host division rivals Boston College, Clemson and Wake Forest at the Carrier Dome in 2013, along with primary Coastal Division crossover opponent Pittsburgh.
The Orange’s road slate consists of divisional games at Florida State, Maryland and North Carolina State. Syracuse will also visit Georgia Tech; the Yellow Jackets are the Orange’s rotating crossover opponent for this year.
The complete ACC football schedule, including game dates, is expected to be released in February.
Syracuse’s 2013 ACC Opponents (Home)
Boston College – Series: SU leads, 28-18
Clemson – Series: SU leads, 1-0
Wake Forest – Series: Tied, 1-1
Pittsburgh – Series: Pitt leads, 34-31-3
Syracuse’s 2013 ACC Opponents (Road)
Florida State – Series: FSU leads, 5-1
Maryland – Series: SU leads, 18-14-2
North Carolina State – Series: NC State leads, 6-0
Georgia Tech – Series: GT leads, 2-0