Tag Archives: Daryl Gross

Syracuse Orange Blogger Awards: Best Freshman

As one of the many first year blogs to join the Syracuse corner of the interwebs this past year, it is only fitting that a rookie present the SOB for “Best Freshman”. The winner of this year’s Best Freshman award will be following 2007 winner Paul Harris and 2008 winner Jonny Flynn (and by following, I don’t mean heading to the NBA Draft. I hope).

Here were this year’s nominees:

The 2008-09 Syracuse Orange Freshmen: Mookie Jones, Kris Joseph and Brandon Reese.

The 2008-09 Syracuse Orange Freshmen: Mookie Jones, Kris Joseph and Brandon Reese.

MOOKIE JONES: Mookie is a 6-6 small forward from Peekskill who didn’t get much playing time on a deep Syracuse team this season. Jones appeared in nine games, the last of which was the January 7th game against DePaul. His season was cut short by a hip injury that required surgery in February and will seek a medical redshirt for this past season (meaning he can become the first ever two-time S.O.B. nominee for Best Freshman!). He averaged 4.1 points in 9.9 minutes per contest, including season highs of 21 minutes and 9 points against Colgate.

KRIS JOSEPH: Joseph, or Kris-Jo as he calls himself, is a 6-7 forward who came to Syracuse from Montreal via Archbishop Carroll in Washington D.C. Joseph saw the most action of any freshman, appearing in 34 of Syracuse’s 38 games. Joseph’s best game was against Florida in the C.B.E. Classic in Kansas City- playing 26 minutes and finishing with 10 points and 5 rebounds against the Gators. He was also brought in as a center in the epic 6-OT game against UConn after sitting on the bench for nearly 3 hours.

BRANDON REESE: Reese is a 5-11 walk-on guard from Davie, FL who appeared in 16 games. His season highlight was playing in front of his family and friends in the first round of the NCAA tournament against Stephen F. Austin which was played in Miami.

With how the season played out there was very little debate. On to the results: Continue reading

Back To The Good Life

I don’t wanna be an old man anymore
It’s been a year or two since I was out on the floor
Shakin’ booty, makin’ sweet love all the night
It’s time I got back to the good life
It’s time I got back, it’s time I got back
and I don’t even know how I got off the track
I wanna go back, yeah!

“The Good Life” -Weezer

The Greg Robinson Era

2005-2008

In 2004 the Syracuse football program seemed to be spinning the tires. The team was perpetually stuck in mediocrity, repeatedly failing to get back to the glory of the mid-late nineties. Our coach was being blasted by the fans and media alike for turning our once proud program into a middle-of-the-pack team. We got a share of the Big East title, but it did little to assure us we would be back to our glory days.

Then something else arrived: hope. We got a new AD who was billed as a savior of USC. He acted quick, dismissing the old coach and bringing in a new guy. His guy. We were all fooled.

Couldn't we have scheduled Louisville six times a year?

Couldn't we have scheduled Louisville six times a year?

When Greg Robinson was hired our fans (myself included) knew it was time for a change. And we all thought this would be the coach to bring us back to respectability, if not to the top of the Big East. He had won Super Bowls, been a successful coordinator at Texas, and seemed to have the enthusiasm and knowledge to bring the Orange back from the depths. But all he did was sink.

By all accounts Greg Robinson is a great guy. I have never met him, but know two people who worked with him, both of whom say what a great guy he is. His players never quit on him. He ran a program that graduated its players and had limited discipline problems (compared to other schools both in our conference and across the country).

But the bottom line was that he couldn’t win football games. And wins are the all that matter in college athletics. Nobody buys a t-shirt of their favorite team to celebrate having a good team GPA. People don’t buy tickets to see a team that hasn’t had any players charged with a felony. They only do those things to see winning programs. And Syracuse under Robinson was far worse than Syracuse during Pasquiloni’s last few seasons.

Daryl Gross has a do-over now and needs to get THIS hire right. We can’t spend another four seasons finding out that our guy can’t win. We need someone who can win. Sure there might be an adjustment period, but how long are we willing to wait? If we spend two years racking up double digit losses while the new coach restocks the cupboard how many fans will be left? I don’t know how long I can wait, and I never thought I would say that.

I went to college at UMass, home of a once prominent basketball program. When I got to school, the Minutemen had slipped to previously unthinkable lows under Steve Lappas. Before my senior year he was fired, to be replaced by Travis Ford, an up-and-comer with a great pedigree. In his three years at the helm he was able to bring UMass back to respectability before moving onto greener pastures. The point is I wouldn’t trade those three years for anything. He stabilized and rebuilt a program. If Syracuse finds such a coach, a here for three years then onto bigger and better, that is fine by me. As long as in those years the program gets headed back in the right direction.

For now Syracuse fans can rejoice in the fact that it is over. Then we have to wonder when we’ll get back on track.

Taking a Closer Look at Steve Addazio

In case you missed it, former Orange star Rob Konrad sent a letter to Daryl Gross and Nancy Cantor regarding the current state of the Syracuse football program. Konrad apparently sent the letter on behalf of a group of “prominent football alumni”. With regards to how to get the program on track, Konrad writes that Gross and Cantor should hire someone with northeast recruiting ties and a non-pro style coach, instead of a big-name, expensive coach like Lane Kiffin. That leads Konrad to suggest former Orange assistant and current Florida assistant Steve Addazio:

Addazio began his career as a high school coach in Cheshire, CT and keeps many of the relationships of the past regime with the high school coaching element of the Northeast region. He has built a reputation as a tremendous recruiter and a passionate motivator who has become legendary for his pre-game speeches. Addazio has helped organize some of the most potent non-conventional offenses in college football including Florida’s National Championship season and Syracuse’s Big East Championship and BCS seasons. Besides coaching at the pinnacle of college football, local knowledge and motivational attributes, considering his past ties to the University, he may come with a reasonable price tag.

"If any of you get called for holding I'll beat you with this cane!"

Addazio was an assistant at Syracuse from 1995-1998 before following Kevin Rogers to Notre Dame. While there he served as the offensive line and tight ends coach for two seasons. After head coach Bob Davie was fired, Addazio moved on to Indiana, serving first as the offensive line coach for two seasons followed by a season as the offensive coordinator.

During his time at Florida Addazio has coached both the tight ends and the offensive line. This year he was named the assistant head coach in charge of the Gators offense. But according to this bio the play calling falls to offensive coordinator Dan Mullen. Here are the numbers that Florida put up the year before Addazio took over as the offensive line coach (2005) and the two years later:

As you can see their sacks allowed per game dropped from nearly three a game in 2005 to one per game last season. Pretty impressive. Another trend to look at is the numbers of Addazio’s offenses at Indiana. Below are the numbers from the two years prior to Addazio’s arrival as the offensive line coach:

These numbers are amazing, but a lot of that has to do with who was playing quarterback for the Hoosiers during those two seasons: Antwaan Randle El. For those of you who remember him before his days as an NFL wideout, Randle El was an excellent college QB and put up some great numbers rushing the ball (similar to another such QB Addazio worked with at Syracuse).

After Addazio’s arrival (and Randle El’s departure) the Indiana offense struggled to gain any real momentum:

Things didn’t get much better when Addazio took over as the offensive coordinator:

Granted, it is very hard to replace a talent like Randal El. Therefore it is hard to place too much blame on Addazio for the poor numbers of his Hoosier offenses. On the other side of that coin- how much do you buy into Addazio’s accomplishments at Florida? Is their offensive success the result of Urban Meyers schemes or the quality of his assistant coaches?

There is no doubt that a top notch offensive line coach makes a huge difference to a team’s success (look at what Mitch Browning has done this year with the improved SU line). And having northeast ties would definitely help us recruit better in the states where we used to shine before Rutgers and UConn got their programs going in the right direction. And Addazio is a former Orange coach, so it all makes sense on paper.

But is he a viable candidate? I don’t see it. In fact, if we go the route of hiring another head coach without previous head coach experience, I’m more impressed with Addazio’s colleague, Dan Mullen. He’s been Florida’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach since 2005 and before that worked with Urban Meyer at both Utah and Bowling Green. He has tutored the likes of Tim Tebow, Chris Leak, Alex Smith, Josh Harris and Omar Jacobs. That is an impressive list. And he would bring Meyer’s spread attack that has been successful at all three of those schools to the Carrier Dome turf. I guess he’s another name to keep in mind if “that which we should never speak of” actually happen .

Penn State Thoughts

Well that was about what we all expected, no? Actually, I thought that Syracuse was going to lose by 62 so I guess I should be happy by the result. But like any other longtime Cuse fan, I’m not.

This is how most Syracuse fans are feeling.

I grew into my Syracuse fandom after the Syracuse-Penn State rivalry ended. The only thing I knew about it was what I had heard from others who were around during the rivalry- they used to be our biggest rivals, Joe Pa is a jerk, and the rivalry ended when PSU asked for more home games. My father has a video yearbook of the 1987 team, and my brother and I wore that thing out we watched it so much. One of the best highlights was the 48-21 Syracuse win that broke PSU’s 16 game winning streak. I was three when that game took place, but I watched that thing so many damn times I felt like I was at the game.

When I heard Syracuse was going to be playing Penn State again I was excited (I don’t remember when they announced it, but I’m sure it was at the end of Coach P/beginning of G-Rob. Anyone know exactly?) I felt that we might be ready in time to get revenge on Joe Pa for trying to squeeze us all those years ago. At the very least we could possibly reignite one of the dormant Eastern football rivalries.

But as we all know things have not turned around at SU. The team is still struggling and there is no hope for much improvement this year. Penn State has had some down moments in the recent past, but are a top 20 team this year with a chance at winning the Big Ten.

As painful as this weekend was for us SU fans, I imagine it was even worse for the administration. A football movie gets made about one of our most storied football players and the program is in the dumps. With alumni and Hollywood in town for the premier of “The Express”, Syracuse got run over by their former rivals. They were outmatched and outplayed for 60 minutes. What should have been one of the most memorable weekends in Syracuse football history turned into another route that has become the norm under Greg Robinson.

This can’t sit well with Nancy Cantor and Daryl Gross. The heat is going to turn up very soon (as if Robinson wasn’t already on a “hot” seat) and it will be interesting to see how this situation is handled. All I know is that it is embarrassing to be a Syracuse fan right now. Unless the team goes on a miraculous run -including avoiding an upset next week against Northeastern- it is likely that there is only one solution.

And then we have to somehow put our faith back in Daryl Gross’s hands.

I’ll be back later this week with some video analysis of this game and a preview of Northeastern. Try to enjoy some NFL football the next couple days to take your minds off of this situation.

Four Downs: Penn State

Sorry for no updates this week. There were some technical issues that prevented me from doing any video analysis for the Akron game. Probably for the best because that game was just horrendous. Anyways, moving on to this weekends loss to Penn State. Here are four big questions heading into Saturday’s showdown:

1. How badly are the Orange going to lose?

One of my friends at work is a Penn State grad. Last Saturday he asked me for my honest opinion on the outcome of the game. I told him that PSU would win by 62 points. I have yet to change my answer to that question whenever anyone else has asked me for my thoughts on this weekends game. Will it be that bad? Probably not. But would I be suprised if the final was 72-10 Penn State? Not really.

Say what you will about Joe Pa, but he has kept the talent level at Penn State since these two “rivals” ended their relationship. Syracuse, obviously, has not. It will be very apparent on Saturday.

So how have the Orange performed against ranked opponents under Greg Robinson? Well, the results shouldn’t be surprising. A combined 1-11. The lone victory was the victory over Louisville last year, who was ranked at the time, but ended up having a horrible year.

2007: 1-3 (win versus Louisville; Losses to UConn, Cincinnati and West Virginia)

2006: wins: 0-4 (Losses to Iowa, West Virginia, Louisville, and Rutgers. The Iowa loss was especially painful, as the offense had about 7324 chances to score a touchdown from the one yardline to win.)

2005: 0-4 ( Losses to Virginia, Florida State, Notre Dame, and Louisville)

This is the first game against a ranked opponent this season, and the results should be more of the same.

2. Will the defense give up less than 478 yards?

That is the low mark they’ve given up so far this year. I think the answer to this question is no. The defense has looked awful for two weeks and I don’t see it getting better in the near future. Certainly not this week.

Penn State has put up 111 points in wins over Coastal Carolina and Oregon State. Tailback Evan Royster already has 6 touchdowns on the year. I bet he gets at least 3 this week.

3. Will there be any bright spots in this game?

Other than the fact that Greg Robinson could get canned if the Orange lose by 100? Well, if I had to pick one it would be the play of Curtis Brinkley and Delone Carter. Both looked great last week and Syracuse will need them to play well to take some pressure off of Cameron Dantley.

4. How long does Greg Robinson have left?

Personally I think he will last through the season, but the talk has heated up a lot after last week’s loss. Syracuse.com says it is just a matter of when, not if Greggers is fired. Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor says the team is performing below expectations.

There have been pleanty of coaches fired during a season (courtesy of Donnie Webb), but I think Cantor and Daryl Gross would wait until later in the year, if not until the end. I don’t think Gross wants to admit how bad of mistake hiring Robinson was, as well as bringing back a lame duck coach who realistically had no shot at winning enough games this year to save his job.

If they do fire Robinson they would hopefully give Mitch Browning a chance to guide the team for the rest of the season. If Mitch can lead the team to some victories, or at least have them playing a little bit better, maybe he becomes a viable candidate to become more than an interim coach. Or maybe the next coach will realize that having some semblance of continuity is good and will keep Browning on, as long as he is a fit to the offensive scheme they want to run.

Irregardless of what happens this weekend, it has become obvious that Robinson is gone. I just hope that we don’t get beaten too bad this weekend. But I’m still not backing down from my 62 point prediction.

Syracuse Football 2008: The Red Album Preview

Can any of you catch a football? We could use some help.

Can any of you catch a football? We could use some help.

I’ve been thinking of how to write a preview of something that I’m dreading: this upcoming season of Syracuse football. Between the horrible results of the last few years coupled with this tumultuous off season, I’m at the low point of my Syracuse fandom (and I guarantee I’m not alone).

But this new Syracuse football season comes with a potential silver lining. If the team performs well and gets into a bowl game we can rejoice in St. Petersberg or Toronto or whatever other city would be dumb lucky enough to invite us. Our team would be back to winning games. The Dome might begin to feel like it did before Greg Robinson arrived on campus.

And if the team plays poorly again and fails to win games, Robinson will likely be shown the door (OH MY GOD DARYL GROSS- IF THEY DON’T WIN 6 GAMES FIRE HIS ASS!!!!), allowing the program to move in a (hopefully) productive direction.

So this is the mindset I talked myself into in order to write about the 2008 season. Now I just needed a format.

Enter Weezer.

For as long as I can recall, Weezer has been one of my favorite bands. The “Blue Album” was the second CD I ever owned (Boys II Men II was first-probably the worst thing I’ve ever admitted to in my life) and it has grown to revered status with myself and my friends. Countless times we have sang (more like off-key shouted) Blue from start to finish. It started at high school parties, including every single graduation party. Then it continued at the first party when we returned home from college (the one where everyone is sharing stories about their crazy friend, or talking about a night of debauchery at Zeta Phi Alpha that unless you were there and it happened to you, nobody else cares about). It had gotten to a point that we actually “retired” the album with one epic sing-a-long during a New Year’s Eve party two years ago. Since then, the Blue Album has thrown on the 45 like Jordan and made multiple returns to our late night drunken festivities.

The point is, we can’t let go of it. And I can’t let go of Syracuse football. This summer Weezer released their first album since the disappointing “Make Believe” and restored my faith that you can still love something after you thought it had been left for dead. The “Red Album” is quirky, fun and the best thing they’ve put out in seven years (which is slightly longer than the six years since Syracuse had a player chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft). It renewed my faith in a band that I had abandoned. Hopefully myself, and any other fan out there, won’t do that to SU football.

So here are the preseason awards/preview for the 2008 season based on the “Red Album”: Continue reading