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'Cuse Has Nothing to Lose

Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Syracuse football has hit a new low over the last few seasons and with sustained futility on the field, it didn't take long for the school to make a change. The Orange have gone in a different direction under new head coach Doug Marrone, and it's obvious that anything goes in Marrone's quest to revive a dying program.

To the casual college football fan, the last four seasons have probably flown by, but to those diehard Orange fans, they have been slow and painful to endure, as Syracuse has managed just 10 combined wins over that span of time, including a mere three in 2008, the last year for Greg Robinson at the helm.

So, looking for a fresh start, is it any wonder that the school decided to get someone intimately acquainted with Syracuse football to bring the program back?

Marrone, a Syracuse grad and three-year starter on the offensive line for the Orange in the mid-80s, as well as an ex-NFL player and coach, takes the reins this season.

"We looked everywhere to make sure that we brought someone to Syracuse who we feel can be successful, who has true passion for the university and community, and who understands recruiting in the Northeast, while being global at the same time," said Director of Athletics Dr. Daryl Gross.

Greg Paulus amassed a 42-3 record in high school.
Marrone has wasted little time in acting both locally and globally in terms of recruiting, as he has brought in former Syracuse-area high school star Greg Paulus to be the face of the program in 2009.

To say that Paulus has taken the road less traveled on his way to becoming a college quarterback is a bit of an understatement. The National Player of the Year when he was under center for Christian Brothers Academy in the Syracuse area, Paulus amassed a 42-3 record in high school, setting New York state records along the way, including passing yards (11,763). He also threw 152 touchdown passes in 45 games.

A natural progression to the college ranks might have been the next step for Paulus, but instead, he decided to play basketball, something he did quite well at Duke, where he started 100 games for the Blue Devils.

However, after his eligibility on the court was exhausted this past season, Paulus made the move to return to his first love, football, and the area of his greatest achievements to date on the gridiron. With an undergraduate degree in political science from Duke, Paulus has enrolled at Syracuse in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications graduate program in television, radio and film.

With a one-year waiver from the NCAA in hand, both he and Marrone hope that lightning will strike and Paulus will ignite a spark in what has been a dark, cavernous void at Syracuse.

Marrone named redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib the starting quarterback after spring practices, but Paulus has subsequently beaten out the youngster for the job, as well as the other QBs on the roster. Last year's starter, Cameron Dantley, returns for his senior season, but completed under 50 percent of his passes in 2008, making the decision to go with Paulus a bit easier.

One area in which Paulus has a clear advantage is big-game experience. It may not have come on the gridiron, but playing in Cameron Indoor Stadium and all over the country for that matter for one of the nation's most beloved and hated programs, gives Paulus an edge that should translate into a more relaxed huddle and better decision-making with the football.

It's not exactly a normal path in terms of acquiring a starting quarterback, but in looking at it closely, it's a no-brainer for Marrone, who will be afforded every opportunity to turn things around at his alma mater.

"In my heart I knew I was the best person for this job to get us back to where we want to be. I've always been part of the program, but now I have a chance to do something with it. It's a family and we're all in this together."

That family has two of its prodigal sons back in the fold. Only time will tell if the reunion is an instant success.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Scott Haynes at shaynes@sportsnetwork.com.
Scott Haynes

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