Syracuse Orange football's all-time leader in career receptions, Alec Lemon, is preparing for his opportunity to elevate into professional football after finishing his eligibility this season on the Orange.
But, among this very busy time in his life, Lemon still took the time to speak on the current coaching carousel that is going on inside the Syracuse football program.
Sharing first on his head coach, Doug Marrone's, decision to leave Syracuse for a head coaching position with the Buffalo Bills, Lemon said, "I feel like he deserves it. He's a great coach. He helped turn this Syracuse program around. He came here with the goal to help Syracuse get back to where it was and the past couple years, people say the Bills have been struggling. I feel like he can be a key component to help bring ‘em back to where they've been. And I feel like he deserves it after everything he's done."
Marrone helped to guide the Orange to a 25-25 record in his four seasons with the team after prior head coach Greg Robinson amounted a 10-37 record within the same time period.
Joining Marrone is Syracuse's previous offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who will reprise his role under Marrone as an offensive coordinator in the NFL for the first time.
"I feel like that's a good move as well," Lemon expressed about his former offensive leader on the Orange. "He's another good coach that I have a great relationship with and I feel he's capable of being a great offensive coordinator in the NFL. And he deserves it after everything he's done at Syracuse. All the stuff that he's taught me, I know that he's gonna be successful. And I don't blame him for that move. Everyone's goal and dream is to either play or coach in the NFL and he got that opportunity. And that's what you do. You try to obtain your goals and your dreams and do the best ability to it and I feel he'll be able to do that."
Under Hackett, Syracuse produced one of the best quarterbacks the school has ever had don orange and blue, as Ryan Nassib set new single-season and career records while being coached by Hackett.
Lemon became a member of a very short list of single-season 1,000-yard receivers for Syracuse, while also raising the bar on career receptions while a part of Hackett's offense.
As the Orange continue their quest to find the next offensive coordinator, Lemon shared his take on if the new coach needs to institute the same offense Hackett did. "I don't think they have to implicate the same type of offense as the no-huddle, but having that type of, that option in their playbook to do that is key," Lemon stated. "But, whoever they bring in's gonna bring in their type of their offense and having the players there, I know that they'll be capable to adjust to whatever playbook they got and be able to master it."
Lemon then shifted his focus to who is staying, as the defensive coordinator during his time at Syracuse, Scott Shafer, was recently given a promotion to head coach. When asked if he liked the choice by Syracuse University, Lemon responded, "Yeah, I do. I feel like Coach Shafer's well-deserving of that position. He's done a great job ever since I've been there and I feel like he'd be a great head coach. And it's nice to keep, from these past couple years, a coach from inside the staff. It's key because you know what type of message coach [Doug] Marrone's giving us. And coach Shafer can follow the same way, if not different, but kinda still have the same philosophy and the tendencies on the team that coach Marrone has. And I feel like if he does that, if he decides to go that path, he'll be successful. If not, he'll be successful on his own way."
In thinking of a definition to who Shafer is, Lemon said, "He's a great coach, great motivator, a great person. I always talk about it when we come back from games ‘cause he always rides my bus that when he gets up and talks to us about meetings or what's next or he just has a message to tell us. It gets me pumped up all the time and I always say if I played defense, I would love to play for coach Shafer."
As far as something few who are outside the program may know about Shafer, Lemon offered that, "He's got a cannon of a left arm. He probably, besides the quarterbacks, has the tightest spiral on the team."