The Syracuse Orange started out the 2009 season with new hope and more importantly a more promising start to the season.
Syracuse lost to Minnesota in overtime to start their season. Then only allowed 28 to a then top-ten Penn State team in Happy Valley and then beat Big Ten opponent Northwestern.
After their promising start, however, the Orange continued to barely beat FCS Maine and FBS joke Akron and lose big to Big East rivals USF and WVU.
During the last four games Doug Marrone's team has slipped back into the sloppy and mistake ridden style of football that plagued them under coaching failure Greg Robinson.
For Syracuse fans its beginning to look like Doug Marrone could just be G-Rob part two.
First here's a look at the first seven games of the Doug Marrone era.
Unlike under supposed defensive specialist Greg Robinson, the Syracuse defense is actually playing with heart. The run defense is ranked 17th in out of 120 FBS teams and their pass rush is much improved from last year.
With Robinson in charge defensive backs and sometimes even linebackers were afraid to hit running backs and never ran hard to the ball carrier. That has changed since Marrone has taken over.
Also the offensive play-calling of Marrone's offensive coordinator is light-years ahead of G-Rob's offense. By running scores of screens, draws, options, and end-arounds Spence has found away to successfully pass the ball despite an atrocious offensive line and inconsistent wide receivers.
While the run defense is one of the best in the league the pass defense is almost the worst in all of football. They are 118th in the country at stopping the pass. It seems almost every game this season the opponents number wide receiver has a career game. It hasn't mattered if its Eric Decker of Minnesota or Landis Williams of Maine Kevyn Scott just can't cover them.
While the secondary is attrocious, the offensive line might be able to challenge them as the teams worst unit.
Syracuse is also in the bottom 20 in rushing offense, the sole strength of Greg Robinson's teams. While some of the decline in run production is because the offense is passing more a lot of it has to do with the offensive line being totally incapable of blocking defensive lineman.
The offensive line has also allowed 14 sacks this season a product also related to the inconsistent play from the Quarterback position.
While both Greg Paulus and Ryan Nassib are upgrades from Cameron Dantley and Andrew Robinson, neither has proven to be a consistent leader or passer for Marrone's football team.
The No. 1 issue under Greg Robinson was the team continuously shot itself in the foot with dumb penalties and fatal turnovers at crucial points in games.
Orange fan's simplest wish must have been for Marrone to eliminate this critical mental errors that cost their team many games in Robinson's four year tenure.
Their wishes have not been answered. This Saturday Syracuse allowed a 98 yard kick return for a TD and also muffed a punt early in the game which lead to Akron's other score. These mistakes aren't a one game anomaly but rather a season long trend left over from seasons past.
The jury isn't out yet.
The one thing fans must keep in mind is Doug Marrone is still coaching Greg Robinson's players. So while some of the mistakes might be a result of poor coaching the problems in the secondary and offensive line are a result of a lack of talent. That is Robinson's fault.
College coaching is about recruiting more than anything else and Marrone has yet to bring in a recruiting class of his own. Marrone has shown promise as a coach particularly because he has caused a huge turnaround in the Syracuse rush defense but if he recruits as poorly as G-Rob his legacy will be the same.