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Column: Syracuse football much better off without Doug Marrone

Jimmy Simmons/Icon Sportswire

A familiar name to upstate New York popped into the news over the weekend after the Jacksonville Jaguars elected to fire offensive coordinator Greg Olson – Doug Marrone.

Yes, somehow, someway, Marrone does still have a job in coaching. That’s almost as baffling as how he went from head coach of the Buffalo Bills to offensive line coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars in one offseason without getting fired.

Good thing he did too because he very well might become the next head coach of the hapless Jaguars. Everyone in the business is lining up for that gig.

Jacksonville fired Olson, and although Marrone wasn’t chosen to replace him, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports that if the Jaguars decide to make a head coaching change during this season, they will promote Marrone to interim head coach.

Just hearing these rumors should give Syracuse fans quite a few laughs. Sure, Marrone led Orange football to a 25-25 mark, including two bowl victories and two eight-win seasons, the only two for Syracuse since 2001, in his four-year Orange tenure. But just a mere mention of his name reminds Syracuse fans how fortunate they are to have Dino Babers as head coach rather than one of the most selfish, egotistical football coaches of recent memory.

Before taking over the Syracuse football program in 2009, Marrone actually called the head coaching position his “dream job”. Half of upstate New York rolled their eyes as they saw right through the political statement, but the other half believed him, and then felt betrayed when just four years later he took the head coaching position with the Buffalo Bills.

No one can fault him for returning to the NFL and taking a job with a much higher salary, but no one forced him to call Syracuse his “dream job.” He’s not the first and won’t be the last coach to make this mistake, but it was a pretty silly comment.

Marrone can’t possibly have a dream job because he’s always stepping on people to just move up the ladder. He clearly was never fully committed to growing anything at Syracuse, and that fact was even more obvious at Buffalo.

With the Bills, he benched the team’s first-round quarterback choice E.J. Manuel in favor of 32-year-old veteran Kyle Orton. Rather than developing a quarterback, Marrone only cared about the 2014 season, so he went with the signal caller that gave him the greatest chance to win.

Sure, that was all fine and dandy that season, but then Orton retired, and it was back to the drawing board at quarterback for the Bills. Of course, Marrone didn’t care because he had his “out” clause. If the Buffalo franchise was sold, he had the right to opt out of his contract yet still receive full pay.

This was his master plan all along – start all the short-term answers at every position, become the first coach to win nine games with the Bills in over a decade, and then move on to a better position.

The only problem was Marrone couldn’t get out of his own way during the head coaching interview process. He was reportedly the frontrunner for the Jets head coach vacancy, but his interview with the team didn’t go well.

It didn’t help that at about the same time, several former assistant coaches at both Syracuse and Buffalo came forward and didn’t exactly give Marrone a ringing endorsement.

“Self-centered, selfish, greedy,” Bob Casullo said of Marrone on ESPN radio. “You’re re-shuffling an egomaniac, less than .500 coach.”

“When he takes a job, he already has his plan in place for his next job.”

It should be noted that Marrone fired Casullo, who was a Syracuse assistant head coach until midway through 2010, so it’s possible Casullo just has it out for Marrone. That being said, the two first worked together in 2004. Therefore, they presumably know each other well, and considering lots of coaches are fired and never say anything bad about their former bosses, these comments should hold at least some merit.

Marrone isn’t a guy you really want running your football program. If he has any type of success, even just about a .500 mark, he’ll jump ship for a better opportunity.

The book is still out on whether Babers is here to stay long term at Syracuse, but at least he is invested in building a program. Syracuse fans needs to remember that if the Orange fail to win two more games and get to a bowl game.

Marrone wasn’t interested in the long-term success at Syracuse. He was only interested in himself.

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