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Head coach Doug Marrone has brought Syracuse football the image of being an aggressive, disciplined football team that will attack at all times. After finishing 5-7 in 2011, Marrone had to take a long look at what was done wrong with the team in all three phases and fix it.
Nothing was more evident of this then when Marrone decided to close practice from the media and the public for spring football. Marrone said, "I wanted to make sure we have a true understanding of offense, defense, and special teams without any distractions from the outside."
Moreover, the offense will be moving to a different scheme this 2012 season and beyond. In 2011, Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett ran a West-Coast offense that relied on quick passes from the pocket and just bland runs. Results were three-and-out and nothing to show for it.
Marrone decided there needed to be a change for the Syracuse offense with all the dual threat quarterbacks you see right now in the NFL with Cam Newton or in the 2012 NFL Draft Robert Griffin III.
Nolan Weidner at The Post-Standard interviewed Marrone about this. “Being more of a running threat, and a movement threat, rolling out and doing things,” Marrone said when asked how the position would change. “It’s been very successful for a lot of teams. Those are the things we’re moving forward on.”
As a result, Marrone said the program is looking for three qualities in a quarterback on this team and for recruiting: a dual threat who provides leadership and can extend plays.
The offense moves in the direction of a mobile quarterback that can neutralize fast, aggressive defenses with more roll-outs, play-actions and quarterback-designed runs. On the defensive side of the ball, Marrone will still utilize the successful aggressive 4-3 defense with Scott Shafer.
Shafer and the aggressive nature of his defensive philosophy of pressuring the quarterback results in sacks, fumbles, interceptions and defensive touchdowns. With getting healthy players back on defense, this team will return back to the 2010 defensive form.
Also, the defense will be adding two new coaches on the staff this year: former Michigan linebacker Steve Morrison is now the LB coach and former NFL assistant Donnie Henderson is the secondary coach.