Buffalo maintained their brisk pace of conducting head coaching interviews as they sat down to meet with Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone. Buffalobills.com confirmed the interview took place Friday.
Marrone has spent the past four seasons turning around a wayward Syracuse program, and led the Orange to a 38-14 victory in the Pinstripe Bowl over West Virginia on Dec. 28. The Orange finished the season at 8-5, with four of their five losses coming by eight points or less. Prior to Marrone's tenure Syracuse had not had a winning season since 2001.
Cleveland and Philadelphia are also reportedly interested in the Syracuse coach.
Syracuse athletic director Daryl Gross said in a University statement that the NFL interest in Marrone did not catch him off guard.
"I think it is the ultimate compliment to Doug's coaching abilities that his name is being mentioned in NFL circles," Gross said. "None of us should be surprised by the attention given his experience and success."
Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon, an East Syracuse native, serves on the Syracuse University Sports Management Advisory Board, and has a measure of familiarity with Marrone.
Marrone, 48, has seven years of NFL coaching experience after serving for three seasons as offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton (2006-2008). In 2006 and 2008 the Saints led the league in total offense. They also led the league in passing offense in 2008 as Drew Brees ranked first in passing yards (5,069). The year before the New Orleans offense led the NFL in red zone touchdown percentage (72%).
A former college offensive lineman at Syracuse, Marrone coached the New York Jets offensive line for four seasons (2002-2005) under Herm Edwards. The Jets finished third in the league in rushing yards with Hall of Famer Curtis Martin rolling up almost 1,700 rushing yards that season (1,697).
Prior to that Marrone spent the first 10 years of his coaching career in the college ranks with his last three stops at Georgia Tech (1995-1999), Georgia (2000) and Tennessee (2001).
He began his coaching career at SUNY Cortland as tight ends coach in 1992.