So far we've noticed two glaring things about the Doug Marrone era at Syracuse. First - the man is not shy about making quick decisions. He named Ryan Nassib the starting QB shortly into spring practice, and was just as rapid when replacing Nassib and naming Greg Paulus the starter last night. Secondly - the roster turnover has been nothing short of astonishing.
I don't mean this in a bad way. We all know about how lax things had gotten under the Greg Robinson regime. It was evident in the way the team faded in every game, the way they were pushed around on the field by teams like Akron (Akron!), and now from former players essentially admitting that there wasn't really any accountability in the off-season (weight training, conditioning, etc.). As reported by The Post Standard, 18 players have left the team since Marrone took over. They all have different reasons for doing so, but you can guarantee that at least some of them quit because they simply did not want to deal with a tougher, more demanding coaching staff. It happens.
Hopefully, this helps the team in the long run. The Orange are dangerously thin now at a few key positions (kicker and linebacker come to mind). But hopefully, when all is said and done, the kids that are left on the roster are tougher, both mentally and physically, as a result of the "pruning," if you will. The guys that are left are committed to this coaching staff, and they have bought into whatever hard-nosed approach Marrone is selling behind closed doors.
I'm reminded of a pivotal scene from the movie "Hoosiers," when the loudmouth kid tries to go back on the floor after being benched, because everyone else fouled out, and Coach Dale tells him to sit down. Incredulous, the kid sits back down, and the referee comes over to the coach and says, "You need one more out there," to which Norman Dale coolly replies, "my team's on the floor."
Hopefully when the lights go up on September 5th, after months of weeding out players, and toughening up those that are left, Doug Marrone's team will truly be on the field.