Well, the dismissal of Scott Shafer is in the rearview mirror, for better or worse. While firing a coach is never ideal, it’s over and done with and it’s time to move on. So now the question arises: who will be the next head football coach at Syracuse University?
As I mentioned the other day, right now I’m hearing that Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost is the frontrunner. There are obviously some questions surrounding Frost, particularly as it pertains to his lack of northeastern connections and the fact that he’s never been to the Syracuse campus, coupled with the idea that Mark Coyle needs to make a decision quickly.
That said, there’s a scenario in which Frost could be on campus as soon as this weekend, since Oregon plays its final regular season game on Friday night, as opposed to Saturday. It’s conceivable that Frost could be on campus, meet Kent Syverud, and leave with an offer (or even be in place as the new coach) by Sunday.
Frost would be a young, exciting hire, which is something that Syracuse needs right now to show people – including recruits – that it’s serious about getting football back to respectability for more than just a season here and there. So now, why would Frost want to come to Syracuse? That’s what a lot of folks have been wondering, especially since the word is he turned down the Colorado State job last year.
Well, first of all, the ACC is enticing, as is the idea of the Oregon offense in a controlled environment, on turf, in the Carrier Dome. There’s also the rumor of massive Dome renovations coming down the pipeline soon, which will reportedly turn the outdated facility into a more state of the art home field. That’s a good sales pitch for offensive recruits, and the Dome seems built for a pass heavy attack like the one Frost runs at Oregon. And while he’s young, at 40, that’s also around the time when he probably realizes he’s got to get in the door for his first head coaching job, particularly since he’ll need a successful head coaching gig if he’s ever going to get the Nebraska job (which I would imagine is his dream job somewhere down the line). Plus, he’s familiar with Mark Coyle, having been a finalist for the Boise State gig when Coyle was making that decision.
But who else is a realistic possibility for Syracuse, should Frost pass on what I assume will be an offer coming sooner than later?
A few names have been mentioned that are realistic possibilities. From what I’m hearing the next names on the list include Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Sanford, Utah State head coach Matt Wells, Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, and yes, even LSU defensive line coach Ed Orgeron.
When it comes to Sanford, I think that’s a bit of a longshot at this point, though his previous connection to Coyle – who hired him previously as the OC at Boise State – does make him a possible hire. But he’s very young at 33, and knows he’s already becoming a hot commodity. It’s been said in the past couple days that he doesn’t have any desire to leave Notre Dame, but I think the bigger thing here is that he knows he will be in line for a more high profile gig than Syracuse in another year or two.
Riley is an offensive wunderkind, and would make a lot of Syracuse fans happy. Right now, though, I would put him even farther down the list of possibilities than Sanford. And then we come to Ed Orgeron, who I think would leap at the head coaching gig if offered…but I don’t think he’s going to get offered. At least, not at first. He’s more of a fallback should Frost pass, but there does exist a scenario in which both he and Frost join the staff.
It’s not likely, but from what I’m hearing, the option has been put out there for Frost to come in as the head coach, and potentially pull double duty as offensive coordinator, with Orgeron coming in as the associate head coach, recruiting coordinator, and defensive coordinator. Before you say anything about Frost wanting to pick his own staff, remember that he and Orgeron have crossed paths while Orgeron was at USC, and while they were both in the Pac 12 they no doubt also crossed paths on the recruiting trail.
Obviously, the money would have to be there, but Syracuse is in a good position to negotiate with Orgeron right now, since he’s on the verge of being unemployed since LSU fans are completely insane and want to fire Les Miles. Orgeron wants to be a head coach again, and taking the role as the AHC/DC at Syracuse might be his best path to getting a P5 gig again, either by waiting out Frost and then stepping in as the probable replacement when he leaves Syracuse, or using the job to launch himself into another P5 gig elsewhere.
By the way, for everyone who keeps pushing Coastal Carolina coach Joe Moglia: just stop. It’s not happening. He’s not remotely on the list, and he’s not even close to being qualified. Yeah, he’s got a cool story, and he’s probably a fine coach. But I’m telling you right now: there is a 0.0% chance he’s the guy, unless Mark Coyle decides to go smoke ungodly amounts of peyote in the next couple of days.
The same can be said for the likelihood of Matt Patricia (who is on the fast track to an NFL head coaching gig), Les Miles (who Syracuse could never afford), and Chip Kelly (ditto the affordability).
I’m going to make the less than bold prediction right now: Scott Frost will be the new Syracuse University head coach by this time next week.