ABC News On Campus reporter Michelle San Miguel blogs:
Syracuse University’s new head football coach, Doug Marrone, will be losing some familiar faces from the team.
Sue Edson, assistant director of athletics for communications, confirmed that 16 players would not be returning for the '09- '10 season. Players no long with the Orange include linebacker Parker Canty, tight end Darnell Pratt and place-kicker Austin Wallis.
Despite speculation that Marrone asked athletes to leave, Edson denies such claims. “Coach Doug Marrone did not tell anybody to leave,” Edson said. “It was the student athlete’s choice.”
Coach Marrone is returning to his alma mater as the University’s 28th head football coach. He is replacing former head football coach Greg Robinson, who was fired by Director of Athletics Daryl Gross after leading the team to three double-digit losing seasons.
Canty, Pratt and Wallis did not respond to requests for comment, but some students said they believed the players were leaving the team because of the new coaching staff.
“I think it’s just what happens when you have a change of coaches,” said Andrew Woodbury, a junior public relations and policy studies major.
“Everybody’s got to earn their position again,” Jim McCurdy, a recent Syracuse University graduate, said. “Some of them felt, maybe, that they didn’t have to.”
Next year’s football team has already received significant attention after Greg Paulus, a former point guard on the Duke University basketball team, announced he would be switching sports and playing for the Orange.
“It’s definitely exciting,” McCurdy said. “I think it’s going to be a good year for SU football.”
McCurdy speculated that recruits like Paulus may have placed pressure on players who will not be returning next season.
“I think some of those individuals saw the writing on the wall and decided they may have a better chance to play elsewhere,” McCurdy said. “Or not at all.”