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Football with Doug Marrone laced Greg Paulus' coaching career

By Tim Graham

Mike Krzyzewski was an obvious influence on Greg Paulus' basketball coaching career.

Thad Matta, too, of course.

So has Jim Boeheim.

But don't forget Doug Marrone.

That's right. Paulus credits the Buffalo Bills coach for making a difference.

Paulus essentially was immersed in Boeheim's program while growing up in Syracuse. Paulus played point guard for Krzyzewski at Duke.

Now Paulus is an assistant to Matta at Ohio State.

But in between Duke and Ohio State, the two-sport Christian Brothers Academy star decided to give football another whirl. He enrolled at Syracuse in 2009 as a graduate student and won the starting quarterback job in Marrone's first season as head coach.

"I learned a lot about myself, a lot about changing the culture of a program," Paulus said today at the First Niagara Center, where Ohio State will play Dayton on Thursday in the NCAA basketball tournament.

"We've seen where Syracuse was before Coach Marrone and where it is now. It's come a long way, and I'm proud to have had that opportunity.

"Moving forward, I lean on those experiences even though they're different sports. I know what I got out of that, a great deal."

Paulus turned down scholarships to play football at Notre Dame and Miami (Fla.), choosing instead to concentrate solely on basketball. At Duke, he became only the fourth freshman to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in assists.

He graduated from Duke in four years, leaving him one year of athletic eligibility if he wanted it. With no guarantees, he reported to his hometown program, which had been in shambles and had just hired a first-time head coach.

"It happened very quickly," Paulus said. "I ended up graduating from Duke in May, and the football season starts in August.

"I'm not someone who pays attention to the odds. All I wanted was an opportunity. I knew it was for one year, so all I wanted was a chance to compete for a starting position.

"I made the transition to try to learn the playbook, meet the guys on the team and try to help out the Syracuse program in whatever way possible. It was a quick turnaround to learn everything, but I had a lot of fun with it."

Paulus beat out incumbent Cameron Dantley and redshirt freshman Ryan Nassib for the job. Marrone wanted to establish a new culture, and a winner from a program such as Duke basketball was a gift. Paulus was named a captain.

Paulus' football stat line was mediocre. He completed 67.7 percent of his passes for 2,024 yards and 13 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. The New Orleans Saints invited Paulus to minicamp in 2010 before he focused on basketball coaching full-time.

"I would do it again in a heartbeat," Paulus said. "The opportunity to play football for a year, get my masters from the Newhouse School of Public Communications and have a chance to play for Doug Marrone is something that I'll never forget."

And when the Bills went into opening day with a total of one NFL start among their three quarterbacks, including Duke pal Thad Lewis, did Paulus have any fanciful thoughts?

"No desire," Paulus said with a laugh. "Just to see Coach Marrone do it at the highest level, I was real proud to have played for him."

If the higher seeds win Thursday, then Paulus will face Syracuse for the second time in his coaching career. Ohio State defeated Syracuse to reach the 2012 Final Four.

Canisius-Syracuse Game Wrap

Syracuse 85, Canisius 61

How Syracuse Won: The Orangemen are a team of luxuries. Oft times their toughest decisions resolve around deciding just how they want to score. They went for 40 points in the paint. Netted 23 off turnovers. Hit four threes in each half. There's a lot to like about this Syracuse team. It could be their year.

Turning Point: Syracuse opened the second half all business. A three-point halftime lead ballooned to 50-35 on a Brandon Triche three with 14:55 remaining. Canisius was down double digits the rest of the way.

Player of the Game: Senior forward James Southerland is the energy boost off the bench and it was a sonic boom Saturday night. He poured in a game-high 21 points on 9 of 14 shooting from the field, including 3 of 6 from behind the arc.

Best Supporting Role: Michael Carter-Williams had 13 of his 14 assists in the second half when the Orange broke the game open.

Stat Check: Here's a major positive for Canisius to take forward -- the Griffs won the boards 37-34, including 16 at the offensive end. The progress has been immense since Canisius was beaten by 14 on the boards by UB on Nov. 20.

Stat Check II: The Griffs shot 12 of 30 from behind the arc thanks to a 7 of 14 second half.

What It Means: The No. 4 Orange are 9-0 and sure to climb to at least third in the rankings this week after top-ranked Indiana was knocked off by Butler. The Griffs are 6-2 and saw their second three-game winning streak come to an end.

In the House: There were 18,120 at the Carrier Dome. The students went on break Friday.

They Said It:

"I just take what people give me. My teammates know what my game is and they're going to find me when I'm open. That's their job, and my job is to knock them down." -- Griffs guard Isaac Sosa, who went 5 for 9 from three.

"Killer instinct. Extending the lead. Keeping that thing going." -- Canisius guard Billy Baron on where the Griffs can improve going forward.

"I like their team. I think Jimmy's done a great job." -- Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on the Griffs.

Next Up: Canisius plays host to Longwood on Monday night at the KAC.

-- Bob DiCesare

UB-UConn Game Analysis

UConn 17, UB 3

Game Analysis: Four plays were the difference as UB fell short in a game it could have taken. Missed tackles factored in two big plays by UConn wideout Nick Williams, one of which set up a TD and the other accounting for the game's final points. A missed FG by Peter Fardon hurt. The end zone interception thrown by Chazz Anderson was a killer. Four plays. Otherwise, UB led in first downs, 16-13. in rushing yards, 126-80. And in total yards, 319-293. They led most everywhere but the scoreboard.

Turning Point: UConn LB Yawin Smallwood stepped in front of Anderson's pass for Alex Neutz on a third-and-5 from the UConn 5 midway through the third quarter. The Bulls had started the drive on their own 15 and had covered 80 yards in 11 plays. To come away with nothing while trailing, 10-3 . . .

Player of the Game: Williams, the national leader in kick returns last year, turned two short receptions into 113 receiving yards and a touchdown and came to the rescue of a UConn offense short on firepower.

Stat of the Game: UConn punter Cole Wagner averaged 44.2 per kick and came up large on a couple of challenging occasions.

Counting: UB LB Khalil Mack had 1.5 tackles for losses. He entered with a nation-high 7.5 in the category.

Short: UB RB Branden Oliver finished with 84 yards on 23 attempts, falling shy of becoming the first Bulls back since James Starks to string four 100-yard rushing days.

He Said It: "I couldn't tell you what his 40-yard dash is but, boy, it looked fast when he had that ball running up the middle of the field." UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni on Williams.

In the House: There were 18,215 at UB Stadium for Homecoming. Who schedules a Big East team on Homecoming?

Next Up: For that matter, who schedules a trip to Tennessee with the Vols coming off a bye week (and, as it turns out, a loss to Florida)? Saturday at 12:30 the Bulls have a chance to shock the country.

-- Bob DiCesare






UConn 17, UB 3 -- Final

FINAL: UConn 17, UB 3.

 Huskies 2-2, Bulls fall to 1-3.

Attendance: 18,215.

4:52: McEntee and Nick Williams connected on 49-yard scoring play on third and 7. Williams shakes off Naija Johnson tackle on play. UCONN 17, UB 3.

7:24 and counting down: Bulls have to punt. Nothing for Oliver. Pressure forced Anderson to throw away second-down pass. UConn starts on own 36.

8:46: Score holds. UConn, 10-3. Huskies punter Cole Wagner a major weapon. Just nailed a bomb that Terrell Jackson fumbled and recovered on Bulls 18. . . . UB safety Josh Copeland out rest of night with undisclosed injury. Bulls have been having success with between-tackle runs of late. Would like to see them work Neutz on a slant.


UConn 10, UB 3 -- Bulls have 15 minutes to get in the end zone or they're going to come away from this one kicking themselves. Fourth quarter starts with UConn facing third and 14 from own 14 after Khalil Mack sack of McEntee.

UConn 10, UB 3 -- Bulls come away empty when Anderson is picked in end zone by Yawin Smallwood on a third-down pass from Huskies 5. Yet another wasted chance. Bulls have frittered away no less than six points in this one. UB had driven from its own 15.

HALFTIME: UConn 10, UB 3 -- UB gives up 64-yard pass play and then McEntee hits Hinkley with 4-yard TD pass with 15 seconds left in half. Stunning turnaround. Drive was 83 yards in 58 seconds.

2:34: 3-3. Teggart nails 47-yard FG for Huskies... with loads of room to spare.

5:33: UB 3, UConn 0 -- Fardon barely sneaks a 28-yard FG attempt inside left upright.

6:18: Still scoreless. UB first and goal from the 18 after holding penalty on Oliver picking up pass rush. Score doesn't show it but Bulls better team by far to this point. UB got first down by penalty on drive with a fourth-down roughing passer call against Joseph

13:34: Still scoreless as Fardon hooks 30-yard FG attempt wide left from the right hash. Hold might have been a little shaky. Didn't miss by much but can't squander opportunities like that.


10:29: UB will start second possession on own 37 after an exchange of punts. JOhnny McEntee starting at QB for Huskies.

4:20: Means blocks 49 yards FG attempt. UB starts on own 26.

1:06: UB playing inspired defense. UConn running game getting nowhere. Bulls now start series on UConn. 35.

End First Quarter: 0-0. UB driving. First and 10 and UConn 15 after pass from Anderson to Rivers.

Hello from UB Stadium. Sunny skies. Scattered clouds. Decent student representation in the stands. The hope is to supply periodic updates but they're having campus-wide problems with the wireless so it could be touch-and-go.

Bulls (1-2) have one win over a Big East team (Rutgers 2002). UConn won last year's meeting 45-21 in Connecticutt. Huskies have QB issues but should be able to carve out a living on the ground this evening.

The game is on Time-Warner cable.

-- Bob DiCesare


UB-Pitt Game Thread

UB vs. Pittsburgh

at Heinz Field

First Quarter

9:10 -- Pitt 7-0 -- Panthers strike first, marching 54 yards in eight plays on their second possession. Zach Brown's 6-yard run caps the drive, which took just 2:04 as Pitt ran the no-huddle to perfection, maintaining a sharp tempo throughout. . . . Freshman LB Lee Skinner's already been in on six tackles for Bulls. He got the starting job when John Syty was declared out for season with a concussion.

End of First: Panthers driving and have a second-and-seven from the UB 13. Kevin Harper ends up missing 32-year field goal wide right after Colby Way produces first career sack on third down. Bulls getting little going offensively after opening drive on which Branden Oliver ran for 23 yards. Drive starts haven't helped. Bulls have opened series on own 5, 9, 26 and 40. Last three series have been three and out.

Second Quarter

What is it with Buffalo receivers against Pittsburgh teams? Wide-open Ed Young drops a TD pass from Anderson at the Pitt goal line. I mean, there was no one within 10 yards of him on the play from the Pitt 33. Stevie Johnson can emphathize. Bulls end up with a 40-yard Pete Fardon FG to draw within 7-3 with 4:33 until the half. It was first career attempt for Fardon.

Third Quarter

Bulls looked dead when Pitt went up 14-3 shortly after Chas Alecxih intercepted a Chazz Anderson screen and rambled 47 yards to UB 20. How did Anderson responded? By leading Bulls on a 13-play, 76-yard TD drive that ended with 4:22 left in the second quarter. Nothing like having a fifth-year senior under center.

Strong safety Issac Baugh is out (shoulder). The injury occurred on the play before Pitt's last touchdown.

Pitt answers UB touchdown and leads, 21-10. Graham rushes in from short distance. Panthers covered 74 yards in eight plays and 2 minutes, 29 seconds.

Fourth  Quarter

Chazz Anderson's the real deal. Bounce-back from INT off screen has been impressive. Great poise. Doesn't rattle. Bulls open quarter with second-and-4 from Pitt 21.

What a catch by Alex Neutz, outbattling DB Saheed Imoru for an Anderson pass good for a 20-yard gain to the  3. Oliver takes it in from there. Bulls then go for two and misfire. That was a mistake. Too early to be playing the math game. There's still 13:27 left.

Pitt 28-16. Panthers go 60 yards in six plays, needing just 1:36. Sunseri to Shanahan from 6 caps it off. There's still more than 11 minutes left.

-- Bob DiCesare


UB-Pitt Pregame

PITTSBURGH -- Finally made it to Heinz Field after driving all over downtown looking for the media lot. And leaving my cell phone in the car. And walking a half-mile to the media entrance in 95-degree heat (no lie). But who cares???? It's football season and opening kickoff is less than three hours away.

Quite an atmosphere outside the stadium. A lot of tailgaters. Plenty of vendor stands. Not sure if they set up all these stands for Steeler games (or for Pitt games outside of the opener) but it's a cool idea. I'd imagine UB could get more community buy-in if it turned the outside of UB Stadium into a mini Taste of Buffalo, particularly for home openers.

Looking around the MAC today . . . nice showing by Miami at Missouri. The RedHawks, defending MAC champs, lost 17-6 to the No. 21 Tigers . . . Ohio St. shallacked Akron, 42-0 . . . 'Bama's pounding Ken St., 48-7, late in the fourth. .... Earlier in the week: Temple blitzed Villanova (42-7), Central Michigan topped South Carolina St. (21-6), Toledo beat New Hampshire (58-22).

Good thing UB-Pitt kicks off at 6 p.m. instead of early afternoon. The heat's oppressive and still could be a factor for two teams that will be running the no-huddle spread.

-- Bob DiCesare

UB-Pitt Pregame

Draft night

Mack-kemba ---Seth Davis provides draft profiles for 40 of the top NBA draft prospects in the country like UConn's Kemba Walker and Butler's Shelvin Mack, pictured right.

 ---The dreams of the members of this draft class are on hold, for reasons completely out of their control.

---Can Jimmer Fredette be an explosive scorer?

---Eric Williams off-season at Niagara has been rather painful.

---Former Binghamton coach Kevin Broadus has been hired by Georgetown as a special assistant coach.

---Boston University has finally hired a new coach.

---Former UCLA stars Ed O'Bannon and Baron Davis will be returning to Westwood this summer in order to complete their studies and recieve their degrees.

---Jason King details Mike Rice's efforts to resurrect Rutgers.

---Rodney McKissic


Which teams will go 12-0 or 11-1?

---Phil Steele examines which teams he thinks can go 12-0 or 11-1 this season, a few of which are UB opponents.

---With an $11.4 million cut in state appropriations looming, regents will vote on Eastern Michigan's annual budget. Combined with a possible $12 million increase in expenses, the school could face a $23.4 million shortfall.

---Rodney McKissic


Big East is in the money

---The Big East made more money from this past season's March Madness than any other conference in the country. In fact, theleague made nearly $6 million more than the Big XII, which made the second-most this March.

---Here's a list of the five best programs without a first round draft pick since 2000.

---Temple hasn't had a player selected in the NBA Draft since Mardy Collins in 2006, but Lavoy Allen is hoping to hear his name called.

---Rodney McKissic


He's a Tiger

---St. Joe's Chad Kelly announced he's headed to Clemson but he had some nice things to say about UB, who recruited him heavily.

---Meanwhile, UB coach Jeff Quinn is spreading the word about the Bulls while defensive coordinator William Inge is one of seven Division I assistant football coaches and athletic directors taking part in the NCAA's 2011 Champion Forum this weekend in Orlando.

---Rodney McKissic


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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |