Mark Coyle, Syracuse’s new athletic director, held his introductory press conference on Monday morning at Manley Field House. Here are three takeaways from the press conference:
1. Football scheduling. Coyle said that he will shape the football schedule in a way that allows for post-season success. This to me is one of the biggest keys from the press conference. The football program is still attempting to rebuild its brand and credibility after the Greg Robinson era. Getting pummeled on national television by Notre Dame or USC isn’t going to help change that brand. The Orange has four non-conference games per season, and it sounds like Coyle will want to schedule winnable games, which would allow for the Orange to have to just win 2-3 ACC games to make a bowl game. Going 6-6 with a bowl game and playing teams outside of the Power 5 sounds much more palatable than going 4-8 and seemingly losing all momentum that Doug Marrone had built.
2. Basketball successor. Coyle noted that he had spoken with head basketball coach Jim Boeheim prior to the press conference, and would continue to have further dialogues about his successor. It seems hard to imagine that Coyle would cut against Boeheim’s presumed heir apparent, Mike Hopkins. This is especially true given Coyle’s record with the Broncos. When Coyle had to hire a replacement for football coach Chris Petersen at Boise State, Coyle went with Bryan Harsin, a Boise State alum who also was on Petersen’s coaching staff from 2001-2010. That all bodes well for Hopkins.
3. The Dome. Coyle said that the Carrier Dome should be used as an advantage in recruiting and would keep the turf green. This would’ve been an interesting gimmick if Coyle, like was done at Boise State, hinted at changing the color of the Dome turf to orange. Then again, all he would need to do to change his mind is to look at the orange turf on a television screen for about five seconds.