On November 17, 2008, Syracuse University football coach Greg Robinson was fired two games before the season ended. The decision to fire coach Robinson left the Syracuse football program in utter turmoil.
A month later, SU decided to hire first time head coach Doug Marrone to try and rebuild this program from the ground up. With a decent recruiting class that was bolstered by the signing of former Duke University point guard Greg Paulus, Syracuse looked like a team on the way up in the always unpredictable Big East.
In 2009, the Orangemen posted a 4-8 record which is actually quite good by the standard that had been set the past few years under Williams.
As the Paulus experiment became officially over, it was very apparent to the orange faithful that the 2010 recruiting class would need a signal caller. Syracuse ended up receiving a commitment from Jonny Miller of Denver.
Miller is ranked near the top of almost every scout’s board as a quarterback recruit from J. K. Mullen HS and is known for his great pocket presence as well as his leg ability. With much more work on his throwing technique, Miller has a great opportunity to compete for the Syracuse starting job heading into team practices.
Miller’s height is also an issue that scared many teams away from offering him during the recruiting season, but he has a chance to silence any and all critics once he starts performing at Syracuse this spring.
When a coach is trying to restructure a program, it is always essential to start on defense. At the end of the 2009 season, Syracuse was ranked at the bottom of the Big East in almost every defensive category.
To add insult to injury, the Orangemen defense gave up an average of 24 points per game. Heading into the final stretch before National Signing Day, Coach Marrone and his staff knew they had to meet their most pressing issue: the defense.
To bolster a very leaky defense, Syracuse received pledges from cornerback Jeremi Wilkes and defensive end Max Beaulieu. Both prospects are from Florida and bring hope up to New York. Wilkes used his remarkable footwork along with great instincts to become one of the best cornerback recruits in the nation.
Beaulieu also received a great amount of high profile offers but opted to go to Syracuse to help rebuild the defense. Beaulieu has great potential as a defensive end at the next level. With better conditioning, he could make great plays for the Orange at a consistent rate.
In Syracuse, it is evident that the Robinson regime may still affect the football program for a few more years. While that sadly may be true, Doug Marrone and the brass of the football program are making a concerted effort to move this football team out of the cellar in the Big East Standings.