Football

Marrone announces 4 more Syracuse coaches to join Bills staff

Doug Marrone’s coaching staff with the Buffalo Bills looks like Syracuse West.

Marrone announced his full coaching staff Tuesday, and it includes four more former Orange coaches. In addition to offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who he hired for the Bills Jan. 10, he’s also bringing Tyrone Wheatley, Greg Adkins, Donnie Henderson and Jason Rebrovich.

“I’m excited to announce the newest members of the Buffalo Bills coaching staff,” Marrone said in a statement on buffalobills.com. “When I began the hiring process for our staff, I sought after individuals that had a strong work ethic, passion for the game of football and experience which are all qualities demonstrated in each of our new hires.”

While Marrone has given them all coveted jobs in the NFL, he’s left new Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer with a shell of a coaching staff.

In the second half of the season, when Syracuse went 5-1 en route to a Pinstripe Bowl victory, Marrone and Hackett shifted some of the load from Ryan Nassib to the Orange’s running backs.

Wheatley developed Jerome Smith and Prince-Tyson Gulley into a formidable one-two punch. Syracuse’s rushing attack averaged 187 yards per game in 2012.

Now Wheatley’s headed to Buffalo, too.

Adkins had been Syracuse’s offensive line coach since 2009. He also worked with Marrone at Georgia in 2000. Now they’re back together with the Bills, where Adkins will be Marrone’s tight ends coach.

In each season Adkins spent with Syracuse, the offensive line paved the way for a 1,000-yard rusher.

Adkins was also Marrone’s recruiting coordinator for the Orange, and is widely known as a stud recruiter.

“I think it’s just his doggedness to recruit is one thing, and then on top of that, more importantly, he’s personable and he gets along with the recruits and the families trust the recruits and all that stuff,” said Brian Dohn, a recruiting analyst for Scout.com. “Recruiting’s relationships and whether you can built a good bond and trust with kids, and that’s what he was able to do,” he said.

Henderson will be the Bills’ defensive backs coach, but the NFL is nothing new for Henderson. He was Syracuse’s defensive backs coach in 2012, but throughout the early 2000s, he coached some of the best defenses in the NFL.

He was the assistant defensive backs coach for the Baltimore Ravens in 1999, and then the defensive backs coach from 2000-2003. During that span, the Ravens were second in the NFL with 88 interceptions. Henderson also developed Hall of Fame safeties Ron Woodson and Ed Reed.

Henderson served as defensive coordinator for the New York Jets in 2004 and 2005 while Marrone was the Jets’ offensive line coach.

In 2004, the Jets’ defense improved from 21st to seventh in the NFL in total defense.

Henderson then spent a season as the defensive coordinator for the Detroit Lions in 2006. He was a consultant for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2007, and then became the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defensive backs coach in 2008. He was also the secondary coach for the Arizona Cardinals in 2010 before spending one season in the same role at Southern University.

Rebrovich spent the last two seasons as a defensive assistant for Syracuse. He’s joining Marrone as the Bills’ defensive quality control coach.

With Syracuse’s coaching staff gutted, Shafer’s forced to build his staff practically from scratch. The lone holdovers are defensive line coach Tim Daoust, linebackers coach Steve Morrison and wide receivers coach Rob Moore.

Shafer already hired Chuck Bullough to be his defensive coordinator. He will reportedly hire former Miami wide receivers coach George McDonald as his offensive coordinator and former Elmhurst head coach Tim Lester as his quarterbacks coach.

“I’ll say this, every staff needs to have two or three guys who are really good recruiters, and who are like that,” Dohn said. “If Shafer can’t get guys like that, well then he’s not going to be successful because no coach is successful unless they can get guys that can recruit.”

  • icanewfriend

    Thanks for dismantling your Alma Mater’s football program, Doug. What did SU and its fans ever do to you to deserve this?

  • Bostonway

    Hey Doug,
    That’s right…continue to hurt SU, then pretend you care! You are only looking out for your success. You did NOT have to hire SU coaches, but you did.

  • erl

    Is something wrong with the SU athletic dep’t that all these folks wanted to leave????

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