Doug Marrone has made his passion for the Syracuse football program very well known through his four years as head coach, a factor that has likely made his decision to become the Buffalo Bills new head coach very difficult. Last weekend he was the toast of Syracuse, having just led his team to their second Pinstripe Bowl victory in three years, a 38-14 win over West Virginia. This weekend SU fans are trying to accept that he's leaving to take on the brand new, and seemingly daunting challenge of turning around the Bills.
Marrone's friend and former Orange teammate Robert Drummond, who also admits that he "bleeds Orange", says he can understand why Marrone would take this opportunity to head to the NFL.
"There's a lot of things going on that we don't know about," explains Drummond, "I know a lot of things led to him leaving, and it just doesn't come down to him. You've got to look at the (SU Athletic Director), the president, so a lot of things led to him leaving, so don't fault Doug, he's doing the best for him and his family."
While Bills fans have had very strong opinions about Marrone becoming their new head coach, SU fans are left without a head coach that seemed to have the program going all the right directions entering the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. All eyes will now be on AD Daryl Gross as he makes what is perhaps his most important hire at Syracuse University.
"Syracuse is resilient,"says Drummond, "we'll get back on board and do the things it takes to win. I think they should hire internally for a Head Coach, someone who's already been there, so this program can make an easy transition into the ACC, but it's gonna be a tough go."
Meanwhile, Marrone will once again start from scratch, taking over a Buffalo team that hasn't made the playoffs in 13 years, and who are in shambles, much like the Orange were following the Greg Robinson era. There is hope that Marrone could change the culture of the Bills, but Drummond, having played in the pros himself, knows how tough a task that will be.
"It's hard to really tell these guys what do do when they're tripling your salary as a head coach, so it's gonna be an interesting culture and an interesting dynamic, but I think Doug can do the job."