Friday, January 11, 2013
Scott Shafer impresses in Orange debut
By Andrea Adelson
Want to know how to own an introductory news conference?
See: Shafer, Scott.
The new Syracuse coach gave his players and fans an early glimpse Friday at what they are going to get with him in charge: A guy with an edge, who is not afraid to talk a little smack, throw down one-liners, pay homage to Syracuse or show his emotions when talking about what means the most to him.
Shafer hit every check box under the category "Things to say to get folks fired up."
Here is just a brief sampling:
There was a singular catch phrase: "Hard-nosed team!"
There was some news: close friend Chuck Bullough will take over as defensive coordinator, after spending last season with the Browns. The two worked together at Western Michigan.
There were pauses to collect himself. When asked how long he wanted to be a head coach, Shafer began, "It's been a goal of mine since I was about 10 years old." He paused, tried to talk about his father, and stopped.
There were a few puns: "I envision an offense with a lot of juice. A lot of Orange juice. ... When you come and watch them play you better not take a bathroom break."
There was a reference to big home wins over West Virginia and Louisville: "West Virginia came in here a year ago. They were talkin'. We locked 'em in the dome and beat the hell out of them. Louisville this year when we played the unstoppable team and didn't have a chance in hell to play against that team and our kids got after it and the crowd was rumbling in that Dome."
There were references to Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown and Hall of Fame coach Dick MacPherson, including a personal story about his mother, father and younger brother taking a recruiting visit to Syracuse. He still has a photo the three of them took with MacPherson.
There was a reference to the impending move to the ACC: "We're gonna go to the damn ACC and we're gonna storm that conference!"
As returning running back Jerome Smith tweeted when it was all over, "Coach shafe sound like he ready to play tomorrow."
I heard from some skeptical Orange fans during the Big East chat Thursday, wondering whether Syracuse was too hasty in its decision to promote Shafer shortly after Doug Marrone left for Buffalo. After his news conference, I think Shafer convinced his skeptics he deserves this opportunity.