By William Qualkinbush.
By William Qualkinbush
Syracuse defensive end Jay Bromley went to sleep on January 6 looking forward to another day with Doug Marrone as his head coach. On January 7, his alarm went off, and he found the world was different.
“I woke up to it,” Bromley said of the news that Marrone had taken the head job with the Buffalo Bills. “You heard the rumors, but then you wake up and go, ‘Wow, really? He left us?’”
There are no hard feelings between Bromley and Marrone—or any of Bromley’s teammates, for that matter. They understand why their former leader made the move, and they also appreciate the chance to move forward with another head coach they can follow with confidence.
“He did it for the best of his family and his interests,” Bromley said of Marrone. “He left the program at a high level and passed it on to Scott Shafer on a high level so he could keep it going.”
Shafer talks about controlling what can be controlled, and Bromley has taken those words to heart. With momentum built on the back of a 6-1 finish in 2012, the star defensive end says the team is poised to take care of business in a new league with new challenges.
Bromley knows not to over-complicate the situation; the Orange have such a mentality instilled deep within the bloodstream of the program. Clichés like “take it one day at a time” are what Syracuse is looking to thrive on this season.
“We’ve got a great schedule with tough teams,” Bromley said. “If we concentrate each and every week and take the task at hand and win those games, we’ll find ourselves in a great place.”
A major reason for his optimism is what he perceives is the strength of the Orange in the trenches. 14 teams brought a pair of representatives to the ACC Football Kickoff in Greensboro, and only Syracuse brought two linemen—Bromley and offensive lineman Macky MacPherson.
“It starts up front,” Bromley said. “Quarterbacks like Tajh Boyd and Logan Thomas, if their line doesn’t protect them, they can’t do anything. That shows that it starts and ends in the trenches.”
Bromley sees the schedule and salivates at the opportunity Syracuse has to make a big splash this season. Non-conference showdowns with Penn State and Northwestern open the slate, then the Orange host Clemson in a game that should be emotionally charged as the team topping the ACC map begins conference play on Homecoming.
As the schedule rolls along, Syracuse has a chance to make some noise in conference play. Bromley says all the pieces are in place to have a special season.
“We have the personnel,” he said. “We have the coaching. We have everything we need to beat these teams. Now it’s up to us to go out there and execute.”
By November, the rest of the ACC may not just be looking up at Syracuse on a map. They may be looking up at the Orange in the standings.