Football

‘Sad day in Orange land.’: Current, former players react to Marrone’s departure as Syracuse head coach

Andrew Renneisen | Staff Photographer

Doug Marrone signs an autograph at a "chalk talk" at Yankee Stadium the day before the Pinstripe Bowl.

With the news of Doug Marrone accepting an offer to coach the Buffalo Bills breaking in the early morning hours on Sunday, it was through social media that many of the current and former Syracuse players became aware of the situation.

Marrone has agreed to a deal in principle to become the next head coach of the Bills, as first reported by ESPN. It means he will leave Syracuse after four seasons, two trips to the Pinstripe Bowl and two bowl victories.

The Daily Orange reached out to several current and former Syracuse players on Sunday, and here is a compilation of their reactions to the news.

Former Syracuse defensive tackle Andrew Lewis, Class of 2011

“Sad day in Orange land. I never thought he would leave.”

“I would hate to lose Coach Shafer. Oh my god. That would be devastating. That’s just a shame because the program is turning around. It seems like once it was on the right track it’s kind of gotten derailed with Marrone leaving.”

“When Marrone first talked to us, he was telling us how — I’m frustrated right now if you can’t tell. I’m more frustrated for the guys. In the middle of them enjoying the bowl game celebration and beating a rival, a rival that I know how many times we’ve lost and how many times they’ve crushed us. To turn around not even a week later after your bowl game, you can’t even enjoy it.”

Current Syracuse linebacker Cameron Lynch

“I was in the bed sleeping and my mom came in the room and told me. I’m happy for his promotion, going up to the next level. But to be honest, I don’t even know what to think. It’s a shock.”

“I know he was in the league before. I’m sure he had aspirations to go back to the league. I don’t really know. It’s been kind of strange because after freshman year my linebacker coach got changed.”

“Wish him the best of luck. I don’t really know what to think.”

Current Syracuse linebacker James Washington, who was unaware of the news before speaking to The Daily Orange

He has to support his family. It’s unfortunate, very unfortunate. I loved him as a coach. It’s going to suck having to adjust.”

“I think the seniors will help because that’s basically all it is. You can’t let nothing like that get you down. It’s life. He had to do what he had to do.”

Former Syracuse punter Rob Long via text:

“I am very happy for coach Marrone and his family. I think he did what was the smart thing for him and landed a tremendous job. I believe Syracuse will be just fine and we cannot dismiss that this program (talent, facilities and awareness) are far better than 4 years ago. This is a much more attractive place for coaches and recruits and it is still a great university. I believe the program with the right hire will continue the upward trend.”

Current Syracuse guard Rob Trudo:

“I woke up to about 15 different text messages from my teammates saying Coach Marrone is leaving, everything, a bunch of group chats and everything, a lot of things going on through text messages from the team. And just when I woke up at 10:15 this morning I had no idea what was going on.

“I’m not technically, like, mad at Coach Marrone for doing what he did. Anytime you get the opportunity to be a head coach for an NFL team, that’s a testament to what you did, especially what he did at Syracuse. And that’s why he was able to get a lot of guys to believe in what he was doing, his philosophy and everything.

“We really don’t know what’s going on at this moment as far as who’s going to be leading us out and everything. So right now, especially with not knowing who it is, everybody’s just waiting, just waiting to see what’s happening. I’m sure we’re going to be ready to work hard this offseason, Coach Hicks and all them, to get bigger, stronger and faster for the ACC, and we’re going to be ready to play next year.”

Former wide receiver Marcus Sales (Class of 2013):

“I just wish Coach Marrone the best of luck.

“There was a lot of rumors going around but it definitely surprised me. You got to expect that, when he has the season that he’s had this year and in the past he’s had a lot of success. He’s a great coach. Everybody wants a great coach right now and right now he’s real good at rebuilding programs.

“I didn’t really talk to (current players) about it but I talked to Chris Clark one time, I told him you’ve got to work hard and get ready for next season no matter who’s coaching”

We will continue to provide updates as the story progresses.

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