Marrone takes blame for slow start; Pugh to return against Pittsburgh on Oct. 5

first_imgThere’s no mistaking where Doug Marrone wants to place the blame for Syracuse’s disappointing start to the season.“Realistically, I’ve been here for four years now,” a melancholy Marrone said during the Big East coaches’ teleconference on Monday. “I have to do a better job. The outcome of what’s going on in the program is not satisfactory for the standards that I have.”Marrone said penalties and turnovers are the two most critical areas where Syracuse has struggled, and that’s a reflection of the structure and discipline in his program. The head coach is looking for a way to reverse his team’s mistake-prone play as it heads into a bye week.The Orange committed 10 penalties for a loss of 79 yards and turned the ball over four times in Saturday’s 17-10 loss to Minnesota. SU is tied with South Florida with an average of 8.75 penalties per game, placing it 110th in the nation out of 120 teams.  The turnover margin is just as ugly. The Orange ranks 111th in the country with a margin of -1.5 per game, tying it with Connecticut and Troy.Too often, the penalties and turnovers have hurt Syracuse in key situations.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“There’s been pockets where it’s been good, and there’s been pockets where it’s been very costly for our football team where we haven’t been able to overcome,” Marrone said during the teleconference. “So at the end of the day, and I’m not being a martyr, it’s truly on me and I have to do a better job.”It’s a message Marrone has repeated throughout his four years at the helm, but he’s never been as adamant as he is now. The loss to the Golden Gophers clearly stung Marrone and the Orange.Marrone said he needs to get better at managing his team’s inefficiency on the field, but the head coach said he would keep his exact plan to improve private.Following Syracuse’s first two losses to Northwestern and Southern California, Marrone remained optimistic. After Saturday’s loss to Minnesota, his tone has taken an unquestionable turn.The message of staying positive has been replaced as he accepts the blame for an underwhelming first four games.“There’s really not a lot of excuses out there. I’m fortunate to be in a profession where we don’t make a lot of excuses,” Marrone said. “It’s a lot of pressure when you feel you’re letting players, coaches and a lot of people around you down.”Just-In TimeLeft tackle Justin Pugh will return to the field against Pittsburgh on Oct. 5, Marrone said Monday. Pugh was limited during training camp and hasn’t played this season after undergoing shoulder surgery in the offseason.Pugh’s return is a significant upgrade on the offensive line. He started every game for Syracuse the last two seasons and was named All-Big East first team in 2011.“Arguably, he’s been our best player as far as performance per position,” Marrone said.Marrone said that Sean Hickey, who filled in for Pugh on the left side through the team’s first four games, will slide over to right tackle and take the position from Lou Alexander.It’s a role Hickey will be accustomed to since he’s practiced at right tackle during his career at Syracuse.Alexander did little to prove he should keep his job in Saturday’s game, getting beat twice by Minnesota defensive ends to allow sacks of Nassib. He also committed a costly false-start penalty in the fourth quarter that put the Orange in a third-and-17 situation that killed the drive. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 25, 2012 at 2:31 am Contact Chris: [email protected] | @chris_isemanlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *