Perhaps Marrone also realized that, at SU or in any other major college program not named Alabama, to get to the absolute top is a massive longshot these days. In the NFL, even with the Bills’ recent sorry history, the odds are a whole lot better.
Further credit must go to Daryl Gross, not just for hiring Marrone, but for avoiding pointless headlines and headaches with his replacement and instead making the likely (and sensible) move to promote defensive coordinator Scott Shafer.
Popular with the players and respected by his coaching peers, Shafer gives SU the best chance to keep as much of the staff as possible, not to mention the current crop of recruits as signing day nears. Better yet, no one will have to start over, and they don’t need to, anyway.
Now, to all the Bills fans that longed for Chip Kelly, or dreamed that Jon Gruden or Bill Cowher was going to step down from their cushy TV gigs, or wanted a “proven NFL name” like Ken Whisenhunt or Lovie Smith, just stop already.
As franchises like Cleveland and Philadelphia found out, heavily courting Kelly didn’t work, and might not ever work. By this point, Gruden and Cowher have been away for a while, and no one knows for sure if they ever want to put up with the sidelines again.
Most of all, going after Smith or Whisenhunt, or the latest hot NFL assistant, would repeat a too-familiar refrain. Buffalo has gone the hot-assistant route (Gregg Williams, Mike Mularkey) and the retread route (Dick Jauron, Chan Gailey), and how has that worked? Or more accurately, not worked?
Understandably, folks in Buffalo are quite impatient, but here is where Marrone might really work out for them, for a couple of reasons.
First, this is not a guy that needs an introduction to Upstate New York’s football community. Marrone spent a lot of time logging the miles from Buffalo to Albany, and no doubt he ran into Bills fans that have stuck with the team through these lean years. He gets it, and wants to turn it all around, just as he did at SU.