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Somebody Turn Down the Crazy

Arrested Development
There is an oft-quoted maxim that emphasizes that "it's always darkest before dawn."

Apparently, Syracuse football has a long way to go before daybreak.

As Post-Standard staff writer Donnie Webb notes in a brief blog entry this morning, Syracuse signee Jermaine Pierce was arrested last week for a laundry list of infractions:

SU signee arrested
Linebacker Jermaine Pierce of Kennedy-Kenrick Catholilc High School, who signed a letter-of-intent with SU in February, was arrested last week and charged with possessing and dealing illicit drugs, having drug paraphrenalia, illegally possessing weapons and criminal conspiracy, according to The Times Herald of Norristown, Pa.

Pierce and two others were picked up by Conshohocken police who found two .22 caliber handguns and marijuana in a Ford Mustang registered to Philadelphia 76er basketball star Allen Iverson. Pierce told police the car was used to travel from Norristown to Conshohocken. Apparently Iverson's nephew was in the group and had access to the car.

Pierce was expected to be an academic non-qualifier at SU. Here's a picture of him on signing day.
Webb goes on to illustrate a little bit more about Pierce's checkered past in a subsequent blog entry. Unfortunately, this is not the first time that the Orange has had trouble with a former Glenn Mills recruit:

Glen Mills
The story about the arrest of SU signee Jermaine Pierce mentions that he attended Glen Mills before enrolling at Kennedy-Kenrick Catholic High School. Glen Mills is a residential school for court-referred young men in Concordville, Pa. I'm told that Pierce was sent to Glen Mills for one year by his mother and not because of a court order.

Glen Mills is the same school that took in Omain Gullette, a defensive lineman who signed with Syracuse in 2002. Prior to his arrival on campus, Gullette was shot and killed in Philadelphia. That murder has apparently never been solved.

Syracuse left Gullette's locker at Syracuse and his No. 66 jersey vacant for four seasons as a tribute to the player. That tribute expired after last season and the locker and number are now available. The No. 66 has yet to be re-issued.
There are two questions here that deserve either an answer or some brief commentary.

First, does this incident qualify for Orson and Stranko's Fulmer Cup Challenge? Even though Pierce is not an official member of the Syracuse football team per se, such a performance necessitates recognition in an outlet more venerable than this virtual notebook.

Second, does this incident all but burn the scholarship offered by Orange head coach Greg Robinson to Pierce? Neophite Syracuse Chancellor Nancy Cantor has stepped in on at least one occasion in the past and forced Robinson to withdraw a scholarship offer from a recruit with a checkered past. Will she issue a similar edict in this instance?

Even if Cantor -- or, for that matter, Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross -- fails to force Robinson's hand, Robinson should act upon his own volition and withdraw Pierce's scholarship offer. This is not to say that I do not believe young people deserve a few chances in life to turn around their situations. They do. What concerns me is that Pierce has seemingly had numerous opportunities to reposition his circumstances and he has yet to take advantage of them.

In short, this is not the kind of signee the Orange needs to be bringing to The Hill. Academic non-qualifiers and juvenile delinquents are the makers of Bowden dreams. They are not, and should not be, members of the Syracuse community.

The Gladwell Revolution of College Football Continues
Earlier this year, I wrote a series of essays concerning author Malcolm Gladwell's "tipping point" theory and its applicability to Syracuse football. I indefinitely suspended the project after the Virginia debacle for fear that completing such an analysis on a weekly basis would cause me severe and untreatable depression. Hopefully, the analysis will be completed following the conclusion of the lacrosse season.

Anyway, College Football Resource recently published an essay applying Gladwell's principles of "physical genius" to, appropriately, college football.

The major flaw I find in CFR's essay is the analysis of Pete Carroll as an individual emblematic of Gladwell's "physical genius." As CFR notes:

Onward to Pete Carroll.

Because he's not an athlete, I won't bother to show highlights documenting his physical gifts. That's alright, because his mental gifts make a strong case for his status as a physical genius.
It is this very premise that necessarily eliminates Carroll from inclusion in the "physical genius" club. An attempt to shoehorn Carroll's accomplishments and passion into Gladwell's theory simply misinterprets the purpose of the theory.

In short, Pete Carroll is not within the ambit of subject matter defined by the theory. College Football Report sums up this sentiment concisely:

I’ll be the first one to admit that Pete Carroll is an above average coach, but to even qualify him as a “coaching genius” is a stretch. A “recruiting genius” maybe, probably. But neither a genius of the coaching or physical entities. Hell, Gerry DiNardo could have gotten 10 wins a year out of the USC teams of the past three years. Carroll knew how to maximize his most talented players to the best effect in any given situation. This is not “genius”, it’s coaching, pure and simple. You want to talk about maximizing the available talent? Talk about what Navy did last year, or the fact that ANY of the military academies can field a competitive team on a yearly basis.

Personally, I think that a lot of coaches do alot more, with a lot less than Pete Carroll. But the guy has had a pretty good run. 1 National Championship, and played for a 2nd in 3 years time. Hell of a coach, even better recruiter. But “genius”, No.

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