When Doug Marrone strolls into offensive line meetings before his second season at the helm of the Syracuse University football team, offensive lineman Adam Rosner notices a transformation in personality.
On the practice field, Marrone spends time with each unit equally, overseeing his full squad. But when he steps into meetings with the offensive linemen and the unit's coach, Greg Adkins, the three years of starting on SU's offensive line as a player emerge from the depths of that personality. Every detail of every play is dissected. Every assignment is covered.
Rosner doesn't mind the extra attention. To the former Depew High standout and reshirt senior, the message is clear: For Syracuse to get to a bowl for the first time since 2004, and for Syracuse to have a winning season for the first time since 2002, it starts with the guys in the trenches. He hopes to play a big part in that, starting with the opener Saturday at Akron.
"I feel really comfortable with him as a head coach," Rosner said. "He always says he's a head coach. But when he comes to the O-line room, he's an O-line coach. It's like Jekyll and Hyde.
"But I think it just says that he knows how important the O-line is to a team's success. He's been there before."
The flurry of drama that surrounded Greg Paulus' one-year stint in Orange is over; the offensive line will be crucial to the success of incoming sophomore quarterback Ryan Nassib. And with running back Delone Carter reinstated after a spring suspension stemming from an assault charge, the line will try to pave the road for his second consecutive 1,000-yard season.
It won't be easy. Unlike a defense that returns 10 starters, SU's offensive line returns only two -- senior center Ryan Bartholomew and Rosner, who started only half of the Orange's games last season. Rosner is competing for the starting left guard position with sophomore Zack Chibane. But regardless of whether he starts, Rosner's experience and ability to play multiple positions on the line make him a crucial piece up front.
"Adam is a good player. He's a smart player," Bartholomew said. "He knows all the plays -- sometimes better than I do. He'll make calls before I do sometimes. He's very in tune with what's going on around him. That helps me out a lot. The fact that he's had a lot of game experience last year will help us."
Adkins has seen Rosner grow from starting only one game in his first three seasons to being a key contributor on last year's line.
"The thing about Ros is that he's always a guy that has come out and competed," Adkins said. "He's a tough guy. He knows what things he has to work on, and if he continues to work on those things, I'm going to expect good things from him."
Rosner hopes his and Bartholmew's experience combined with the incoming linemen's athleticism and promise will build a cohesive unit.
Bowl or bust: That's what Marrone set as his goal on the first day of camp Aug. 9. For his team to do that, Rosner knows where it has to start.
Said Rosner: "We want to get in there and step it up. We're ready to go."