The 2014 season is year two of the Scott Shafer era. But it is also year two of George McDonald as the offensive coordinator and Chuck Bullough as the defensive coordinator. Nearly all of the position coaches return with the exception of Bobby Acosta joining as the tight ends coach and Joe Adam as the offensive line coach.
All of that consistency from year one to year two, along with many returning starters, means Syracuse should improve from their Texas Bowl winning performance last season.
Not only were the players learning new systems, especially on offense, but the new coaches were adapting to their personnel as well. There is now more familiarity on both sides which should translate to on the field success.
Terrel Hunt will lead the offense and is more comfortable with the system. Coach McDonald will be in his second year calling plays for Syracuse with a better relationship with his players and a stronger sense of the talents within his group.
The growth McDonald made over the course of last season was strong, especially from a play calling perspective. Entering year two, that should continue to grow as he becomes one of the better young coaches in college football.
The defensive coaching staff will continue to put their stamp on their individual personnel groups. Defensive line coach Tim Daoust has been with the Orange for several years and routinely gets the most of his unit.
Head coach Scott Shafer admits he is more comfortable entering year two of his coaching tenure.
"I'm a nervous nelly," Shafer said. "I'm excited that I know more than I did last year going into it. I'm looking forward to trying to make improvements in all of the things we do. In all the areas whether it be on the field or in recruiting or in our academic support or things we do in the community.
"I think anytime you get the first year under your belt and go into your sophomore season as a head coach, you feel a little bit more confident. You also know that people know more about us now that we've played a year in the conference. That balances itself out. We're excited and looking forward to the challenge."
Consistency year to year is good for any football program. Having that among the coaching staff, one that has a close off the field bond as well as strong working relationship, as well as a largely returning roster looks to give Syracuse a lot of momentum entering the 2014 season.