Syracuse Coaching Hot Board 1.0

As the Orange look for their next head coach, we at provide some options to succeed Doug Marrone inside.

Doug Marrone entered onto the Syracuse Orange coaching scene following Greg Robinson who, in four seasons, amounted an abysmal record of 10-37.

In Marrone's four seasons at the helm of the Orange football program, the team finished with a record of 25-25.

More importantly, Syracuse advanced to the postseason in 2010 after a six-year drought. Also in 2010, the Orange won their first bowl game since 2001.

Two bowl berths in Marrone's four seasons meant that 50% of the time, he was guiding the Orange into an extended season. His record with Syracuse in bowl games? 2-0.

So, it is of no surprise that Marrone was looked at by other suitors and has since accepted the head coaching position for the NFL's Buffalo Bills.

The test for the Orange football program will be to stay in the positive direction that Marrone has led them in. That is why it is imperative that they find the right person to fill the head coach vacancy left by Marrone.

Here is a look at possible candidates for the Syracuse job:

Nathaniel Hackett:

Current position: Offensive coordinator at Syracuse


Notables: Hackett joined Marrone's coaching staff in the 2010 season to coach the quarterbacks and tight ends, with a strong focus on the passing game.

With Ryan Nassib beginning the season as Syracuse's starting quarterback for the first time, Hackett helped lead Nassib into the school's top-10 in completions, completion percentage, passing yards, and passing touchdowns.

Nassib and the Orange offense helped the Orange to a 7-5 regular season record and hung tough in their first trip to the New Era Pinstripe Bowl to win a competitive offensive battle versus the Kansas State Wildcats, 36-34.

In his second season, Hackett continued to coach the quarterbacks and tight ends, but also rose to the position of offensive coordinator.

Under Hackett, Syracuse produced a record-setting quarterback and tight end tandem. Nassib set a new bar for the most completions and passing yards, while tying for most passing touchdowns by an Orange quarterback within one season. Tight end Nick Provo spent his final season with Syracuse gaining the most catches by a tight end in the school's history both within a single season and for a career.

Hackett kept the Orange moving in a positive direction in 2012, overseeing Nassib setting new records in career passing yards per game, passing yards, completions, and attempts.

Even more telling of the evolution of Hackett was his appreciation and respect for the running game. Being a pass-happy coordinator, Hackett still understood the importance of a balanced attack.

With Hackett as offensive coordinator, Syracuse has produced a 1,000-yard rusher in each of the last two seasons.

Hackett has also learned how to utilize different options throughout the game, spreading the ball out to numerous receivers, while also spreading carries out to four different running backs.

His positive experience with the Orange as well as the relationships he has built make him an attractive option to fill the open position at head coach.

Scott Shafer:

The current defensive coordinator for the Orange came in with Marrone in the 2009 season.

In three seasons as defensive coordinator, Syracuse has only gotten better.

Under Shafer, Syracuse's defense improved on third down (from 117th to 28th in the nation) and in first downs they gave up (104th to 27th).

The Orange also drastically elevated their sack amount (100th to 6th) and total defensive play (114th to 37th) from 2008 t0 2009.

Syracuse's defense, under the leadership of Shafer, performed even better in preventing first downs, rising from 27th in the country to 12th.

Their overall defensive output placed them at seventh in the nation from 37th in 2009.

The Orange also became more of a threat against opponents' passing attacks, going from 85th in the nation to 10th.

Overall, Shafer's defense ended the 2010 season ranked seventh among all NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs.

Although the defense struggled in 2011, Shafer helped to guide them in holding strong in two of three overtime matches.

In 2012, the defense were able to fix mistakes as the season progressed, something that did not occur a season before. Learning on the fly, Syracuse's defense under Shafer helped to stunt the run and finally have a positive response to running quarterbacks.

In the past three seasons, Shafer's defense has done something others cannot boast of in defeating Geno Smith and West Virginia's offense three-straight times.

Shafer has also aided the Orange to emerge on the right side of the win-loss column against a top-25 ranked opponent in all of the last three seasons.

His experience with the team and relationship with the players makes him a strong internal candidate for the position.

Bob Diaco:

Diaco is currently on the coaching staff at Notre Dame as an assistant head coach, defensive coordinator, and linebackers coach. His juggling of these different positions gives him experience having to handle multiple areas of a team, which work in his favor as a head coach prospect.

Add in that Diaco is on the staff of the nation's top-ranked team playing in the BCS national championship, and you have a coach with experience at the highest level of NCAA play.

When Diaco joined the Irish for the 2010 season, he helped elevate the defense from their output in 2009 against the pass (82nd in the country to 25th), the run (89th to 50th), and as a whole unit (86th in the nation to 50th).

In his first season with Notre Dame, the Irish defense also allowed almost six fewer points and at least 40 fewer yards per game to their opponents. Diaco's defense attained more sacks and created more turnovers, as well, in 2010 as compared to 2009.

In the following season, Diaco continued moving Notre Dame's defense is the positive direction, preventing any opponent from scoring more than 21 points. Between the 2010 and 2011 seasons combined, no adversary of the Irish was allowed more than 21 points in any match.

Diaco also kept the Notre Dame defense within the nation's top-50 programs versus the pass, the run, and in total defensive output.

All of this defensive success came after Diaco's decision to move from a blitzing 4-3 defense to a no-crease 3-4 scheme.

For 2012, the Irish held 11 of their 12 opponents to 17 points or less. Their average allowed point total of 10.3 points per game led the nation.

Linebacker Manti Te'o, who was up for the Heisman trophy this season, has excelled under the tutelage of Diaco, drawing the nation spotlight in his direction.

Te'o has achieved over 100 tackles in all three of his seasons under Diaco, and added seven interceptions most recently, in 2012.

Mario Cristobal:

Cristobal is fresh off a firing from Florida International University that occurred in December of 2012.

But his firing should not fool anyone of what he could provide as Syracuse's next head coach.

He was born in Miami, Florida, went to high school in Miami (Christopher Columbus High School), and attended college in Miami (University of Miami). With the Orange moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Cristobal's ties to that area and Florida in general can help to be Syracuse's bridge to some of the best talent in the country.

As a player for the Miami Hurricanes, Cristobal aided the team to winning two national championships within his four seasons on the team, in 1989 and 1991.

Cristobal was a four-year letterman at offensive tackle, gaining a spot on the All Big East first team in 1992.

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