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The State of the Orange: Part 2, Sins of the Son

Football genius or worst coach ever?
The State of the Orange has a much sunnier outlook as I write this. Syracuse is coming off a big time upset of #18 Louisville, and quite frankly has re-energized Orange Nation. There is excitement and talk after this major statement win. But one game does not define a coach, so I will write this assessment with the bitter disdain and cold hart I wrote Part 1 with.

In this installment of our special three part report we focus on the current coach of the Syracuse Orange Football club, one Greg Robinson. Robinson has been at the helm of this storied football program since 2005. Since then, the man, to date, as achieved a record of 6-21. For those of you keeping track at home, that is a .222 win percentage. Not something to write home about. For a coach with so much potential and hope for something different, most fans of the Orange would say we were not delivered what was promised. We will start by looking back at what Mr. Robinson had accomplished before arriving in the Salt City.

Robinson started his football playing career at the University of the Pacific. It is slightly ironic that they have since ended fielding a team in football. He played linebacker for the squad before beginning his coaching career at his alma mater. Making stops at Cal State Fullerton, NC State, and UCLA, he then entered the coaching ranks of the National Football League. He then spent four years with the New York Jets before moving on to the Denver Broncos for five years as Defensive Coordinator. He proceeded to win two Super Bowl rings there (f’ing awesome). Then he moved on to the KC Chiefs for two years, before jumping back to college coaching at Texas. From this illustrious resume he was selected to be a head coach for the first time by Daryl Gross to lead the Syracuse Orange football team.

The real question with this gentleman is can he recruit people to bring the glory and prestige back to Syracuse Football? So far the answer is… undecided. Do I think it is too early to decide if he can bring this program back from death’s doorstep? Most likely.

After seasons only containing one and four wins respectively, and then beginning this season dropping three games by a lot, I was ready for the man to be fired. I was like many people in Orange Nation. At the beginning of the season I was willing to give the man a break. After a season with four wins, a vast improvement from only one, I simply asked for improvement. If Robinson could not deliver five wins with his boys, I was just fine with him getting fired.

So, let’s address some of the rumors that are currently out there. Until the big Louisville win Saturday, there was much talk about us not winning one game this season. The prevalent talk and desire was that Robinson would be fired in the middle of the year, there would be an assistant taking over the balance of the season, and then getting a jump on hiring a new coach for next season. Now, frankly, after Saturday I’m not sure where the hot seat is on Coach Robinson. The Axeman seems to think he has gone from the hot seat to an uncomfortably warm seat.

So who would be the front runner for the job? Obviously, as an average member of society I am not privy to all the people that would apply. But here are some rumors that are floating around, as well as some I am creating which would be interesting to think about. First candidate: Lloyd Carr. Yes, the current coach of Michigan is probably out at the end of the year, especially after he loses to THE Ohio State again. He could come in, he’s obviously a good recruiter (hello, he stole Mike Hart from our back yard), and I just think it could be a nice fit. Candidate number two: Bill Cowher. This Super Bowl winning coach, who was with the Pittsburgh Steelers for 15 years. Some say he wouldn’t come to Syracuse. I say I am totally making this up and just think it would be the shit if Bill Cowher did come. Frankly, there is no pressure. He was a 15 year NFL coach with a Super Bowl ring and a team that could only go up. He has never coached in college so why not try to join the ranks of coaches that have won the BCS and a Super Bowl ring. Candidate number three: Paul Pasqualoni. After getting three seasons under his belt in an NFL system, why not come back. Who knows Syracuse better after all. He could come in, pick up all those recruiting pipelines that he had before (what the hell am I saying?!?). At this point, who knows who would want the Syracuse job, let alone succeed in? No one.

Now, that Greg has won, arguably the biggest upset this season, let alone ever (it is true if you go by point spread), what happens now? I think this win has bought Robinson some time. I am all about taking the wait and see attitude and taking a look at how the team does at Miami of Ohio, and then see how they fair against WVU and Rutgers on Homecoming. Then I can either get on the bandwagon and give Robinson another season to show some improvement and get to a Bowl Game, or call for his firing.

The State of the Orange at this very minute is not so bad. We have won a major victory in the conference placing us tied for first place with lowly UConn. We have a winnable game next week. Things are not so down for the Orange currently. This could all change after next week, but for now there is slightly renewed hope and content. I hope this feeling continues all the way to at least five victories, three of which come in the Big East.

Editor’s Note: This is part two in a three part special report on the State of the Orange. Part three will be released Thursday focusing on the other teams at Syracuse and recommendations for the future reguarding the entire Athletic Department. Part one can be found here. Part three can be found here.

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11 Responses to “The State of the Orange: Part 2, Sins of the Son”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I might be mistaken, but wasn't Robinson fired by a crying Dick Vermeil after the Colts scored like 150 points on them in the first round of the playoffs?  

  2. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    That very well could be. What is your point?  

  3. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Just think its an amusing fact that people forget when going through G-Robs resume. If I got fired from a job because my project was a colassal public failure it would be tough to escape that. Instead, he lands as a co-defensive coordinator at UT (my friend is forever greatful for us having taken him from them) and then gets a head coaching job at a formerly big time D1 school. And, when you see his resume people forget to mention that he was in effect fired from his last NFL job.  

  4. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Ah, interesting point caller. However, an interesting fact is that he has never lost a bowl game when on a coaching staff at a school. For instance, when at UT they did win the National Championship over USC. Of course Vince had a lot to do with that, but defense wins championships. The addendem to that is, of course, the fact he was the CO-Defensive Coordinator. Interesting footnotes to the present state of flux that is the State of the Orange.  

  5. # Blogger Russianator

    I'm enjoying this series - however Lloyd Carr is Paul Pasqualoni with the advantage that its easier to recruit at Michigan. Much easier to sell kids on playing in front of 100K and on national TV every week, versus Miami of Ohio in the dome in front of 25 K. Lloyd will win jus enough games to give you hope and lose enough to make you want to strangle the man  

  6. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    I like where your head is at Russ.  

  7. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Sunday, January 11, 2004
    Defense biggest culprit in loss

    By Seth Wickersham
    ESPN The Magazine

    KANSAS CITY -- The Chiefs defense didn't have any answers. Not two
    minutes into the game, not at halftime, not in the fourth quarter and
    not a half hour after their 13-3 season ended -- again -- in a home
    playoff loss that didn't seem to surprise anyone but themselves.

    "It just got really confusing out there," defensive end Vonnie Holliday

    Now in Kansas City, it's find a scapegoat time. The early nominees:

    Finally, the lead scapegoat is Chiefs defensive coordinator Greg
    Robinson, whose (typically) transparent gameplan allowed the Colts
    scoring drives of 70, 76, 71, 51, 64 and 81 yards. Add no punts to the
    stat sheet. In fact, Colts punter Hunter Smith hasn't punted since the
    third quarter against the Texans in Week 17.

    Robinson had defenses designed for when the play was run from the right
    or left hashmark. Didn't work. He spiked his game plan in the second
    quarter and pulled out stuff from earlier in the season. Didn't work. He
    pumped his fists and yelled. Didn't work.

    When when the Chiefs finally appeared to get a stop, it was hollow. On a
    third-and-8 in the fourth quarter with the Chiefs trailing 31-24 and
    closing, Colts tailback Edgerrin James was stuffed for no gain. But the
    Chiefs were called for having 12 men on the field on a play that the
    Colts appeared to intentionally run quickly from a no-huddle set to draw
    a flag. One play later, Manning hit Reggie Wayne for 17 yards and a
    first down. Seven plays after that, the Colts scored their final touchdown.

    Asked after the game how his defense could be dominated so, Robinson
    said, "I don't know."

    Which simply means that if Robinson has no answer, he certainly can't be

  8. # Anonymous Anonymous

    Wow, that article could have been written last week.  

  9. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    Interesting stuff Anonymous. That does sound like a very similar situation as we have been experiencing. I'm not sure if he is a bad coach, or he has bad players, or a combo of both. It is certainly a disheartening feeling when you know your team needs a stop but you really don't believe they will get one.  

  10. # Anonymous FirstDownSyndrome

    I think the other part of this travesty known as Syracuse football that needs to be addressed is how do we get better? Our recruiting pipe lines in CT, NJ and PA have dried up.

    With the emergence of Rutgers as a viable football school and UConn building a program (and a facility that is incredible) they have killed out historical hotbeds of talent. Now we actually have to go out and compete for recruits in the North East and while Piscataway and Storrs aren't exactly top ten places to visit, they have an edge over the 8 to 11 feet of snowy winters known as Syracuse NY.

    With all that has been said so far, I still believe that removing Coach P and this Option short side offence was the correct decision.  

  11. # Blogger Brian Harrison

    First Down,
    You are on the money about hotbeds drying up. While I wouldn't call UConn's facility gorgeous (I'm actually posting this from the UConn campus), it is nice and that state money sure does help. Same with Rutgers. However, with a program with much more history and success, this difference of facility should be negligable. Syracuse is missing some magic X factor lately. I'm sure the win of L'ville will go a long way however. I mean, Louisville was using the SU game to recruit and had several top recruits on hand to witness the program get dismantled. If I were recruiting for Syracuse I would just have a DVD with the L'ville game on it and say "see what you could be doing?".  

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