Marrone gone, Shafer in charge, a lot has changed in one week for SU
It's amazing how quickly things can change in college football.
A week ago the Syracuse Orange were coming off their second Pinstripe Bowl victory in three years.
Doug Marrone was the head coach and Scott Shafer was his defensive coordinator.
One week later Marrone is in the NFL as the Buffalo Bills head coach and Shafer was being introduced as his replacement at Syracuse.
"It has moved quickly, but in every other job I have had the opportunity to move into it happened the same way," Shafer said on a conference call Friday. "One phone call here, another phone call there and all of a sudden you get the offer and it's two or three days and bam you are done."
Five years ago things were a lot different for Shafer and the Orange.
Syracuse was wrapping up their fourth straight losing season under Greg Robinson. It was a four-year stretch in which the Orange went 10-37.
Shafer was having his own struggles, going through a tough one season in Michigan.
It's a year where not much went right for the Wolverines, but it's a year in which Shafer thinks he learned a few things.
"I just didn't fit," Shafer said. "I went to Michigan for all the wrong reasons. I went to Michigan because it's Michigan and I'm from Ohio and when I was young I thought there were only two colleges: Ohio State and Michigan.
"I just didn't fit. I wish I had researched it a little bit better to realize I didn't fit with that group. But, I am appreciate of that whole group."
From day one Shafer knew that Syracuse was going to be the right fit for him. He knew that Marrone was a coach he wanted to work for and a coach he can learn from.
"I think the starting point was he was a great organizer and that's not overrated," Shafer said. "From the day he got here to the day he left there was always a plan and he was always working the plan. The other thing was his passion for this place. He bleeds Orange. Those first couple staff meetings when he talked about how special this place was and how special these people was I could see it. He said he was going to be that kind of coach on the interview and that's why I was so drawn to this job."
A lot changed for Shafer and the Orange over the past four years.
Syracuse has been to two bowl games in the past four seasons and Shafer's defenses have played a big part in that success.
As good as things are today, Shafer knows that things can change in a hurry in college football.
"For me we are definitely in the honeymoon stage," he said. "But, I know the same people who are loving me will have some big questions for me soon."
One of those questions got answered on Friday as former Cleveland Browns and UCLA assistant Chuck Bullough, who also once coached with Shafer at Western Michigan, was named the new defensive coordinator.
"I think that's going to be something that's easy," Shafer said of how the defense works next year. "Because I trust Chuck and Chuck and I have run this defense in the past. Even though I'm going to stay out of his way he knows I'm going to be in there with him."
While his coaching background has come on the defensive side of the ball, when he played football in high school and college he was a quarterback.
While that could give him some insight into how an offense works, Shafer doesn't think that's a huge advantage.
"It may a little bit, but I think that's a little overrated," he said. "It's been a long time since I played on the offensive side of the ball. The big thing is I will let my coaches coach. I do know what I want it (the offense) to look like. I do want a big part in the things I can control.
"At the end of the day I will hire a bunch of really talented coaches and let them coach."
Along with adjusting to being a head coach for the first time, Shafer also will have to adjust to a new conference as Syracuse makes the move to the ACC next season.
"We are going to find out in a hurry," Shafer said of how the changes will work out. "At the end of the day I am hoping football is football and we can lean on the things I believe in."
How he does as a head coach will be something to be determined in years to come, Friday was a chance for Shafer to enjoy his introduction to being a head coach, a job he has dreamed of nearly his entire life.
Shafer's dad, Ron, was a high school coach for nearly three decades in Ohio and it was his dream to be just like his father.
"I was young, I was probably 10 or 11 years old and my mom still tells me the stories of how I used to get the neighborhood kids together and we'd go out front and we'd tear up the grass with our cleats. I wanted the grass to look like my dad's practice field in Warren Champion, Ohio. I just remember thinking this is the coolest thing. I snuck in my dad's room one day and stole a whistle. I wanted to be just like him."
Brian Fees is the Sports Editor at The Daily Review.