I now present to you Part II of my interview with new Syracuse coach Scott Shafer, who discusses how he wants to impact the program and what he learned most from outgoing coach Doug Marrone.
In case you missed it, you can check out Part I here.
You mentioned other head-coaching opportunities that maybe weren’t quite right. Now that you are a head coach, what has it been like waiting for your chance, wondering if that day would come for you?
SS: It was for the most part pleasurable because I got to coach and call defenses, and I had a blast doing that. I tried to have short-term goals, and the long-term goals would take care of themselves and not worry about those things. I'd be lying to you if I didn’t tell you there were times of disappointment, where you say, 'Well, shoot, why didn’t I have an opportunity to get on that job?' No different than anybody in the world. But for the most part, I’ve always been so lucky to be coaching something I love and have my impact on those players, that you get over it as soon as you see them the next day.
A big theme has been continuity with you taking over for Coach Marrone because you’ve been in the program for four years, you know what it takes to keep the program moving forward and you have the support of all your players. Given that, how do you put your own stamp on the program?
SS: To be honest with you, I just trust what I believe in and try not to be anyone but myself and try to help these kids figure out who they are and who they want to be as a group, as a team. Each team is different than any other. And that’s what’s always so exciting, and that’s always the challenge. What is the 2013 [season] going to be, who are we going to be, what’s the theme, what’s the motto? We can’t script it. It’s got to be something developed at the 6 a.m. workouts when things are very difficult and they have to learn to rely on one another and those types of things. That’s the best part of coaching, seeing somebody find themselves while busting their rump. All we want to do is be able to put a product on the field that’s fun to watch, has some energy but more importantly is appreciated by people that appreciate teams that play really hard, physical, hard-nosed football.
What’s the biggest thing you’ve learned from working under Coach Marrone that will help you now that you are a head coach for the first time?
SS: He’s an extremely organized person and that’s one thing I’ve taken from him. Also, the ability to walk away from a situation and let his coaches coach, I think that’s probably the biggest thing I take away from it.