- Aug 15, 2011
Over Thanksgiving I spent time rewatching most of our games this year and here are my thoughts on the season, the program and Dino.
I consider the year to be a solid success. Starting off with six wins that should have been 7 was an amazing feat given the fact that we had a new OC and QB coach and a very difficult schedule. As injuries piled up, we lost games that I believe we could have and would have won if we had remained healthy. Injuries in my opinion are the main reason that we lost games not coaching. Now that we can look back it is obvious that in addition to the players that were out of games, we also had key players who while they played did so in a limited capacity. Most notably Shrader and Tucker. Losing those two is the single biggest reason that we didn't achieve the number of wins that I believe we would have if they had remained healthy. Sure, every team has injuries. Next man up. But when you are SU, you don't have the luxury of a deep and talented bench. It is what it is and will most likely never change to the degree that we can win against good teams playing our second and third string players as well as having to rely on starters who are significantly limited due to their owies.
Almost every team we played is going to a bowl game. With the exception of Wagner, we didn't have a cream puff on the schedule. In short, we played a gauntlet of tough teams. Week in week out with a depleted team running an offense that they only had spring and fall practice to put in place.
With that as a background getting to 7 wins was looking back a heck of an accomplishment, which brings me to Dino and next steps.
I'm like Sybil when it comes to Dino. Half of us want him out the door the other half want him to finish his coaching career here. After reviewing the season and listening to each of his post-game press conferences again I'm firmly behind giving him an extension. The reason for this is that if he can surround himself with solid coordinators and assistant coaches, I believe that his leadership qualities and his genuine care for his players is critical to the future success of Syracuse football. His ability to retain players is going to be crucial for our program. Keeping our best players in the fold will become his number on priority. As long as he leaves the X and Os to others, he in my opinion is a very good coach for us.
The next key is JW. John has proven that he is 100% commiteed to football being successful. He is heading up the largest and most important improvement campaign for all sports in the history of the school. This will be a game changer for SU as will the NIL groups that have been formed and are growing. Togehter JW and Dino make a great public relations team. Dino has finally embraced the past and in doing so has helped to move the project forward. By retaining Dino we will keep the momentum going.
If we can keep this group of coaches mostly intact and if Dino can continue to build on his culture and retain our key players, the future is bright. I think that we will land in the PIN and end up playing in a well watched and meaningful bowl game. Next year looks very promising. I hope that Shrader returns and that we retain our key players. I can't wait to see what some of the young stars do with another year under their belts and with another year in our systems.
The schedule is going to be tough but should be easier than what we just went through.
God willing, we stay healthy next year for if we do I think that we are looking something special.
Can't wait for the bowl game. What a year what a ride. Let's have a great bowl victory and a solid off season.
If the losses had piled up in a different order, I don't think I would have been so sullen, honestly.
I thought we had a great offseason. The 6-0 ride was fun as all get out. The losing streak stunk, of course.
But we got seven regular season wins against a difficult schedule.
I want to see another good offseason and with the easier schedule next year, ideally at least one more regular season win (but will be grudgingly probably be fine with 7 again).
I keep having to stay calibrated to what our other options are right now. It's not like Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams were ever going to consider coming to Cuse and sometimes I forget that.
With that said, I do think that Dino should have a healthy nudge from JW on consistently solid play and getting to bowl games. I don't think that is too much to ask.