Fans screaming. Coaches yelling. Confetti flying. Players throwing up in the locker room. Coach Marrone gives a cheesy speech, “Gentlemen, we are going to relentlessly chase perfection. However, perfection is not attainable. But in the process of chasing perfection, we will catch excellence. Tonight, we are taking our excellence and bringing the Championship to Syracuse for the first time in history.” It was January 9, 2012. Senior Quarterback at Syracuse University, Brandon Sams, had led his team to an undefeated record. The last obstacle in a four month journey was Nick Saban’s Alabama Tide, who only had 1 loss on the season. The players charge onto the field, everyone rooting for the underdog Syracuse Orange. The captains meet in the center of the field for the coin toss. The referee explains, “Call heads or tails while the coin is in the air. Syracuse, your call.” The referee begins to flip the coin into the air. “Heads.” Sams utters. The man in pinstripes catches the coin and yells, “Its heads, do you choose to kick or receive?” Sams responds, “We’ll receive.” The captains return to their teams and the game begins with Syracuse returning a kickoff 40 yards, to the 42 yard line. The offense charges onto the field, ready to put up points. Coach Marrone pulls Sams aside, “Do your thing man. This is our game to win.” Sams just nods and runs to the huddle. “Just another game boys, let’s end this year with a bang. Fuck Roll Tide.” The entire team shouts at once, “ORANGE!” First play of the game, the Orange hand the ball off to Antwon Bailey who scampers for 9 yards. The ball sits at the 49 yard line, in Alabama territory. Next play, Sams fakes a handoff and goes deep to his favorite target, WR Alec Lemon. He dives, making a fingertip catch for a 49 yard touchdown on the second play of the game. The entire team swarms Lemon, screaming and celebrating. Except one player. Brandon Sams lies on the ground, holding his arm after taking a huge hit from Alabama star linebacker Courtney Upshaw. He gets up and walks towards the sideline, straight to Coach Marrone. “I can’t feel it Coach! I can’t move it!” Marrone tries to calm him down, “Relax. Sit down for a second. You’ll be fine, you took a shot. You just have a stinger, you’ll be good to go by the next series.” Sams sat down, trying relentlessly to move his arm. A quarter passed, and Sams still couldn’t move his arm. Marrone walks over to him, “I think we need to take you back and look at that arm.” Sams nods his head, speechless. Sams tells Marrone, “It’s not broke, Coach. I just can’t feel it, or move it. I’ll be fine after halftime. Just a stinger, right?” Marrone answers, “I don’t know, Brandon. You might be done for the game.” The x-rays came back negative, there were no broken bones. Syracuse goes into halftime, trailing 14-7. Sams distances himself from the team, hanging his head in shame. The fourth quarter comes, and Sams has yet to return. Reporters attempt to enter the locker room, hazing him with questions. Coach Marrone enters the locker room. “Hey.” He sits down next to Sams. “I can’t believe this. What’s the score?” Sams answers. “24-7.” Marrone puts his hand on Sams shoulder. “The offense is lost without you. Haven’t picked up a first down yet.” “Stand over there Coach, I’m WILL throw this ball.” Sams grabs a football, and stands a few yards away from Marrone. He tries to wind up, but his arm remains limp. After several attempts, he is able to get his arm into a throwing motion. A few more attempts and he has a full windup complete. Sams starts dropping back in a throwing motion, winds up, and fires the ball towards Marrone. The ball falls several feet in front of Sams. Marrone walks over, puts his hand on Sams’ shoulder and says, “Don’t worry about it kid, you’re done for this one. We made it this far riding your shoulder, not even Peyton Manning could win a championship in Tennesee. Rest it. You got a pro career ahead of you.” Sams walks away. The game ends with a final score of 24-7, the Crimson Tide win. Sams walks out of the locker room, away from the reporters, and to the team hotel without speaking to anyone. Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett tries to comfort Sams at the Hotel, “You turned this offense around in your time here, doing incredible things on the field. They are saying you’re a first round pick. Don’t worry about this game. No one is mad at you.” Sams barks back, “I’M NOT GOING PRO! Everyone keeps saying that. I don’t have an interest in going to the NFL. If I did, I would have left last year. I don’t want to be a quarterback anymore.” Several months later, Sams chooses not to enter the draft. He makes it very clear to the media and NFL executives he is not interested in the NFL. Instead, he pursues a career in coaching. He calls Doug Marrone, asking for a position on his staff for the 2012 season. Marrone answers, “Sorry Brandon, I don’t have any room on my staff right now. I’d love to have you next year if a spot opens up. Hell, I may even take a job with the Bills. I haven’t made a decision yet. I’ll let a few of my friends know you’re interested in coaching though.” “Thanks Coach, I know you’ll help me land a job.” The next week, Sams receives a phone call. It is the Athletic Director of the Buffalo Bulls, Danny White. Sams answers, “Hello?” “Is this Brandon Sams?” “Yes, who is this?” “My name is Danny White, I am the Athletic Director at Buffalo University. I got a call from Doug Marrone from Syracuse saying that you were interested in a coaching position?” “Yes! Certainly! What is the spot? QB Coach?” “No sir, we have a QB coach. I am willing to offer you the position of Offensive Coordinator. What would you say to that?” “Sir, I’ve never coached before.” “That’s fine. I, as well as the entire nation, watched in awe at what you did in your time at Syracuse. That’s the person I want guiding the offense in Buffalo. If you aren’t a Bill, you may as well be a Bull!” “As long as you know I’m a rookie at coaching, I’ll do my best. Thank you for the opportunity.” “Not a problem. How about you come down to my office and we’ll discuss the contract and some goals we can set for this season.” “Absolutely. Want me to head over now?” “Why not? Come on over.” Sams and White discuss the contract, and set the following goals for a 3 year contract. ·2800 total offensive yards ·7+ passing touchdowns ·5+ rushing touchdowns ·500+ rushing yards ·Win 4 games ·10+ points per game ·Win 8 games ·2000 total yards each season Brandon Sams is officially the new Offensive Coordinator of the Buffalo Bulls.