Then the rumors started.
Then-Head Coach Doug Marrone was being mentioned as an NFL candidate.
Monday's press conference with Marrone in Buffalo should provide closure for SU fans. What Marrone did for this team is extraordinary. Marrone breathed life into a program on life support. He did just what he said he would to thousands of fans during an SU basketball game after he was hired. He promised to rejuvenate the program, and to win "now"
Safe to say, he did just that.
Orange fans should be grateful he brought the football team back to respectability, and wish him success in Buffalo. No ill will from fans should be harbored.
And the best part? His greatest contribution, could be still on the horizon.
By the very late evening on Monday it became apparent that Scott Shafer would continue that rejuvenation of the Orange. Several reports, via an ESPN and CBS report and even a tweet from Shafer's son seemed to indicate that fact.
Remember, Marrone hand-picked Shafer to be his defensive coordinator. Now, Shafer continues what Marrone started, and maybe, just maybe will make SU fans feel like it's the late 1980's or 1990's again.
From an x's and o's standpoint, you probably can't find a better defensive mind than Shafer. His defenses have been vaunted since his arrival, even among the nation's best in 2010 and 2012. Even in 2009, before the return to a bowl, Shafer's defense stymied ranked teams like Rutgers. It also held Akron to negative rushing yards for the entire game.
That aspect will undoubtedly continue with Shafer now leading the program. If ESPN reports are true that Nathaniel Hackett will stay on staff too, then look out.That dominant "d" and exciting offense we saw in 2012 will both be back.
From the continuity end of things, you can't ask for anything more. Current players and even incoming recruits were tweeting about the news and seemingly overjoyed.
From a personal standpoint, Shafer has a fire about him that's contagious. You can look at the players tweets about that, but let me even share a personal story--
You see, my brother, Pete, and I grew up die hard Orange fans. I was able to attend every home football game at the Dome from when I was 6 (1991...yeah I know) until 2007 when I started at CNY Central and was assigned to cover high school football instead of the Orange's 2007 opener against Washington.
Pete, being the older brother, had his streak start sooner and it still hasn't been broken. You'll be hard pressed to find a bigger fan then him.
Pete's season football seats are at the 50 yard line near the rafters of the Carrier Dome, just below the assistant coaches booths. Before every game, he's pretty excited, as are thousands of others in attendance. He wishes coaches luck on their way to the coaches box, as he has through the years, and most often will get a nod or a thanks or something mild. Nothing wrong with that, of course.
But Shafer is different.
Shafer matches my brother's intensity, often with a handshake, or a high 5 accompanied by a "Let's Go!".
That passion, that fire, that excitement, it translates. Not just to players, but to those in attendance too. It's contagious, and it's a big reason why Shafer has his team fired up for his appointment as head coach. This team will want to give 100% for this coach.
It could also play a big role in future steps forward for this team.
So as we turn the page on a new era in Syracuse Football let's go forward with the following mindset.
Respect, and appreciate what Doug Marrone did..but show that respect and appreciation by supporting Scott Shafer and doing everything a community can to help with his success.
Head Coach Scott Shafer.... it has a ring to it, huh? Embrace it, hopefully, for years to come.