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Doug Marrone to NFLers who want Syracuse intel: Pound salt

By Tim Graham

INDIANAPOLIS -- When the Buffalo Bills interviewed Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib at the Senior Bowl, his former -- and possibly future -- head coach was in the room.

Doug Marrone sat there and didn't ask a thing.

"Because if I asked him a question, I knew how he'd answer it," Marrone said today at the NFL scouting combine in Lucas Oil Stadium. "It would be hard for me to ask him a question without laughing."

Marrone is in an interesting situation, coming from Syracuse to the Bills. He possesses intimate knowledge on Syracuse and Big East Conference players in this year's draft class. Four from the Orange -- Nassib, receiver Alec Lemon, tackle Justin Pugh and safety Shamarko Thomas -- are participating in the combine.

A college coach usually is a prospect's biggest advocate. NFL scouts solicit the opinions of a college coach to vet a player's draft worthiness.

Marrone has been conflicted about sharing what he knows.

"I'm just going to say that they're great kids and whatever you see on the field, that's what you're going to get," Marrone said. "Other than that, I'm not going to lie to you: I think it's information that's an advantage for us as the Buffalo Bills, as an organization.

"It's been very difficult for me. I have a lot of friends, obviously, in this league that have asked me these questions quite a bit during the week, and I've kind of had the same response: We're in the information-gathering business, not the information-giving when it comes down to players.

"Strategically, do I think it can help us along the way? Shoot, I don't know. I really don't. But it's something that … I shared all that information prior to [becoming Buffalo's coach], but I'm not looking to share it again."

Marrone also deflected reporters' questions about Nassib, one of the most intriguing quarterbacks in the draft.

When asked about his inside Nassib knowledge, Marrone gave a slick, vanilla response that referenced all of his Syracuse players.

"Standing here as the head coach of Buffalo, obviously, I'm looking to move forward with the organization and do what I have to do in my job," Marrone said. "But there's a sense of me that looks back and is proud of all those players that are here and have a chance to show their skills and put themselves in position to play in this league."

Bills General Manager Buddy Nix, however, had this to say Thursday about Marrone's impact on Nassib's potential future with the Bills.

"He's never tried to push," Nix said. "He answers what you ask about him because he knows. Obviously, I asked him, too.

"We all got good feelings about Ryan, but don't read into the fact that Doug coached him that that's who we'll pick."


2013 NFL scouting combine | Buddy Nix | Doug Marrone | Ryan Nassib
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |