Posted in General News,Opinion

Greg Schiano – Is he the answer for Tampa Bay?

by James LoPresti on January 27, 2012

If you have turned on a radio, watched local news or ESPN, or read a newspaper recently,—yes, some people still do that—then you have undoubtedly seen the news of the Buccaneers latest head coaching hire, Greg Schiano. College football fans might remember his Rutgers team as the one continually ripping away the Big East title aspirations from the South Florida Bulls. Am I bitter? Maybe. But, as much as I despise his Rutgers-led teams defeating USF, I stand firm in the fact that I believe the Bucs got themselves a winner.

Bucs new head coach Greg Schiano

So, who is Greg Schiano? Eleven years ago he took over a Rutgers team in shambles. They were the laughing stock of Division-I football, and several losing seasons in a row raised discussion of moving the team down to Division-II. C’mon it can’t be that bad. Don’t be so sure, Mr. Italicize. ESPN readers voted Rutgers as the WORST college team in the HISTORY of Division-I football.

In his eleven years as coach, Schiano totaled a 68-67 record, which is unbelievable considering he was a combined 3-20 during the first two years of his tenure. Sure, it took a couple years of recruiting, but Schiano ultimately showed he was the right man for the job. He led Rutgers to winning seasons six of his last seven years and won five consecutive bowl games. And, interestingly enough, Schiano produced 16 players that are currently on a NFL roster during his tenure, according to Pro Football Reference. Boise State has nine. Wisconsin has 14. Alabama has 18.

Before Rutgers, he was the defensive coordinator for Miami Hurricanes football. He coached from 1999-2000, and Miami was 18-5 during the span, including 11-1 in 2000. He coached NFL players Ed Reed, Adrian Wilson, Dan Morgan, Nate Webster, Jonathan Vilma, and Philip Buchanon during his two seasons; while also helping recruit future NFL defensive talent such as Vince Wilfork, (the late) Sean Taylor, Antrel Rolle, Orien Harris, and Kelly Jennings.

He has experience coaching in the NFL as well. From 1996-1998, he served as a defensive assistant and then as the defensive back coach for the Chicago Bears. And even more appealing, Schiano’s coaching roots began at Penn State. It’s poignant considering the recent tragedy, but it really puts into perspective what kind of coach Schiano is molded to be like.

What can Bucs fans expect? One thing is certain. Schiano is a hard-nosed motivator, who will provide the discipline Bucs players desperate need. Maybe not want, but definitely need. He focuses on strong defense, solid special teams, and a smash-mouth type of offense, with deep-play threats mixed in. I guess the question Bucs fans need to ask now is, “Does he prefer drafting Trent Richardson or Justin Blackmon?”

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