The Coach's Show |

The Coach's Show


Bored Historian
Aug 26, 2011
The coach’s show is on TK99, (FM 99.5) in the Syracuse area and can also be heard through Orange All-Access on the SU Athletic website. It’s 8PM Thursdays- or two days before each game, when they are not on Saturday. They have a link to their “Radio Mailbox” for submitting E-Mail questions on the SU Athletic website. You also can call in questions at 1-888-740-2873 or locally at 315-424-8599.

In past years it took sometimes weeks for a podcast to turn up on the SU athletics website, so I tried to do a virtual transcript of the show. This year I missed the first show and the pod cast was available the next day at this site:

This year I’ll start out by just summarizing the main points and referring people to the pod cast to listen to the whole thing. If the podcast starts appearing later- such as after the next game, I’ll go back to doing more of a transcript.

My Questions/Comments

I E-mailed this one in:

“Coach, I can remember three times this year when we won the opening coin toss but deferred our first possession to the second half. Toledo went on a 10 minute 21 play scoring drive. Louisville and Connecticut scored almost immediately and it kind of punched us in the mouth in games we really expected to win. I remember when we had our big breakthrough season in 1987, Coach Mac had us take the ball if we could get it and we tried to go deep on the first play several times. One of the results was the famous Rob Moore 80 yard bomb that got us off to a great start against Penn State. Wouldn’t it help this struggling team to try something similar?”

(I called in a different one- see below)


Matt Park said that after all the bad news coming out of Pennsylvania, it was good to just talk football. Coach Marrone said his heart went out to the victims and their families.

Matt suggested a short week might be an advantage because Coach didn’t want his team thinking about last week. They can get right to work on the next game. Coach wasn’t so sure that he liked a short week. They looked at the films and asked “What were you thinking? What happened during the week? We had a good week of practice and are having another one now.”

After a technical glitch that gave us dead air and commercials for a few minutes, He said he’d rather have more rather than less time to prepare. “One advantage of the short week ¾ of the way through the season is that they will do basically what we’ve seen on film. If you are going to tweak something, you need an off week to do it.”

Matt asked what Coach was “most looking forward to working on Friday Night”. Coach just wants consistency with no errors. “In losses or even in wins 4-6 plays can make the difference.”
They discussed the Connecticut game. “it was an unusual first half- 7 turnovers, which did create havoc. Special teams lost us a lot of field position. It was a tale of two halves. We’d drive down the field and score, then we couldn’t stop them. We’d drive down the field and score, then we couldn’t stop them. Then came the turnover and they scored.” They discussed the key interception- it was a play where Alec Lemon came back for the ball but the linebacker “did a nice job of jamming and then broke on the play. You don’t like any turnovers but that was a great play. The other two were inexcusable. When we played that team in New Jersey, it was the same thing.” (I found the phrase “that team in New Jersey interesting- Woody Hayes would never call Michigan “Michigan”. It was always “That team up north”.)

Matt noted that we’d played on Friday Night only twice before- the Washington game in 2007 and this year’s West Virginia game. “We want the same type of atmosphere. The fans helped us to defeat Wake Forest and West Virginia.” Later in the show a caller said he sat in the third deck and he wondered what the sound was like on the field. “It’s deafening” said the Coach. “It’s the atmosphere, the communication problems. Also, teams try to simulate it in practice with the sound of rock music, fight songs or jet engines. I’ve probably lost some hearing listening to that stuff in practice. It’s tough to coach under those circumstances. It takes away from practice. The Carrier Dome is a special place. I’ve coached all over and it’s as loud as it gets. Gainesville Florida was pretty loud. When we had 100,000 at the University of Tennessee, it wasn’t as loud as the Carrier Dome. What we’ve got to do is give the fans a product they can get excited about.” Matt remembered how loud the crowd was when Antwon Bailey made that 53 yard run vs. Wake Forest. Coach felt the crowd reaction to Dorian graham’s 98 yard kick-off return vs. West Virginia topped that.

Due to their technical problems I wasn’t able to call in at my normal time but had E-Mailed in my question about deferring to the second half. Coach said they were “absolutely” considering changing his policy of deferring to the second half due to the poor results they’ve had recently and the desire to get the games off to a big start for SU, rather than the other team. “We are going through that as a staff and will evaluate what we do. It’s something that’s being discussed. We’ve deferred because it gets you an extra possession in the second half. (?) You can get the ball at the end of the half and then again at the beginning of the second half.” (But, of course that’s not an advantage unless you make an attempt to score at the end of the half.) “What we‘ve wanted was to get a stop and make them kick from their own 20 or 25 yard line and have a short field, which increases the chances of scoring. In college most teams defer to the second half. In the pros they take the ball.” (I hadn’t noticed that trend.)

I called in with a question I was considering for next week but decided to use now. ESPN had a “top ten list” of the top ten punt returns in NFL history, including the one the Cardinals used to beat the Rams in OT last week. I looked it up. We’ve punted 49 times this year. The opposition has punted 36 times. That’s an indication that the offense needs a little help. I’ve always considered kick returns to be offensive plays, not just changes of possession. We are getting productive kick-off returns, (sometimes), but we’ve gotten nothing off the punt returns. We’ve returned only 10 of 36 punts for a paltry 38 yards. What can we do to make the punt return an offensive play for us?

Coach at first defended his offense, noting that our scoring is up this year and our third down conversion rate has improved, although he admitted “We haven’t scored as much as we’d like to.” He said that he wanted to force more punts. Then he discussed the use of the “shield formation” in college football, which he said made returns difficult. The key it seems that in the pros interior linemen can’t go downfield until the ball is kicked- only the outside gunners and do so. In college ball they can go downfield with the snap. Matt Park noted that not a lot of college teams get long punt returns- the opposition is getting only 5.5 yards per return vs. SU. Coach said that punt returns aren’t a matter of getting 12 yards with every return- you get 2, 3, 0 and then 40 and it averages out. “Mike Holmes had 2-3 big punt returns for us last year and Stephen Rene is capable of doing the same thing for us this year.” He noted that Syracuse, Connecticut and Virginia Tech are the only schools he knows of not using the “shield” formation and said that in the shield, the center doesn’t have to block because they have a three man wall in front of the punter.. “We have to come up with schemes to keep people on the line. We don’t know all the ins and outs of it but we are researching it.” I got the impression that there’s not so much a rule about interior linemen going downfield as it is that with the shield, they can release with the snap and in a conventional formation, they have to block to protect the punter.

Jamie in Liverpool wondered what the chances were that we’d see Charlie Loeb in the game “to prepare for the future.” Coach reminded him that Ryan Nassib has another year of eligibility. Jamie also wanted know “what happened” between the West Virginia game and these last two games. “We were able to use the Okie package more vs. the spread. We were also at home and the fans made a big difference.” He added, “I really thought the kids were ready. I could see it in their eyes.. We’d been covering kickoffs extremely well. But we survived and gained a lead. We’ve got to learn to keep fighting. ”Matt Park asked if the absence of Kyle Foster was a factor in the opening kick return. Coach didn’t answer that directly but said “We lost integrity and that leaves a gap open.” Was that gap where Foster would have been?

There was some discussion of play-calling. “We, as a coaching staff, have to put players in situations where they can be successful. We avoid high risk plays or plays that we simply don’t do well. We are using plays where the players can take advantage of the situation- like Dorian Graham on those reverses.”

They discussed the upcoming game. BJ Daniels is “very dangerous: he can extend plays and ahs a big time arm…..When we, (the Saints) played Ben Rothlesberger we noted that when he threw on the run from the left he completed about 18% of his passes. When he threw from the right he completed about 75%. BJ can throw well in either direction.” Matt noted the phrase “extending plays”. He said “defenses can only hold together for so long.”

USF “got a loud victory in South Bend. Offensively they are one of the top teams in the country (17th - SU is 96th) and are right up there in defense, (34th - SU is 59th). They are #1 in the country in tackles for a loss and #2 in sacks. “Like us, they are not playing well enough and, again it’s 4-6 plays per game. After the Pittsburgh game, their losses have been by 6, 3 and a field goal in overtime.” Matt Park pointed out that the UCONN-SU game had the largest margin of victory in the conference last week. All the other games were won by a field goal.” (Louisville 38 West Virginia 35, Rutgers 20 South Florida 17 and Cincinnati 26 Pittsburgh 23.) Coach: “That’s the type of conference it is. The team that wins is the team that makes the least mistakes.”

The show was done on Wednesday Night because they do it two days before the next game and the USF game is Friday night. It will be back on Thursday night next week. There will be no show Thanksgiving week. The Jim Boeheim Show premieres tomorrow night. I assume it will be on Wednesday night beginning next week.
Has anyone ever asked about the QB situation? We all know he loves Nassib right now but it'd be nice to hear his thoughts/his direct words regarding a mobile QB for next year (even if that meant nassib running more often, with the assumption that we'd have a pretty legitimate backup compared to this year where it's just Loeb)
Has anyone ever asked about the QB situation? We all know he loves Nassib right now but it'd be nice to hear his thoughts/his direct words regarding a mobile QB for next year (even if that meant nassib running more often, with the assumption that we'd have a pretty legitimate backup compared to this year where it's just Loeb)

315-424-8599 or 1-888-740-2873


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