The hunt for Greg Schiano’s coaching staff is already under way. Within the same day the Buccaneers seemingly came from out of left field to sign the former Rutgers head coach to a five-year contract they’re already beginning to look at assistants and coordinators that could potentially join Schiano in Tampa.
As I just mentioned, Mark Dominik maintains final control over coaching hires, but Schiano will have a say and will likely have a number of choices in mind. One possibility, and one group of coaches who may be available (as opposed to those at Rutgers who will be looking to move up at the University) are the men Schiano shares a University of Miami connection with. Like them or not, the Hurricanes have been one of the most prolific college programs, when it comes to creating professionals, that the NFL has ever seen.
If you look at the early 2000’s Miami Hurricanes rosters, upwards of 50 players made it to the NFL, several could be Hall of Famers, and as for current impact, Ed Reed, Frank Gore and Willis McGahee were all on the same roster and factored well into the playoffs (and Gore and McGahee were just back-ups on that roster).
The point is, Butch Davis could recruit, and these men could coach. Now some of them could be candidates to join the staff here in Tampa. Let’s have a look.We’ll break this up into categories based on likelihood. We’ll go with ‘possibilities,’ ‘probably not,’ and ‘downright unlikely, but nice if…’
They should be self explanatory, let’s have a look.
Randy Shannon, Defensive Assistant, Defensive Coordinator
Shannon gets to much grief for his time at Miami. When hired he was handed an academic mandate: clean up the program and improve graduation. He did both. He enforced a curfew, made it against the rules to possess firearms and in his time there more players graduated than ever before and only one arrest occurred during his entire tenure (for which that player was dismissed).
Shannon’s problem was he struggled to recruit outside of Miami and a lot of his more heralded recruits never panned out. From a coaching stand point, Shannon can run one heck of a defense. I think he’d be a better fit as a defensive assistant because he’s never been a coordinator at the NFL level, but he’s done it at college and he coached linebackers for the Dolphins for three years on some very good defenses. He coached a young Zach Thomas for instance. He is currently not working and would probably be a good fit on the Bucs as both a disciplinarian and a developer of young talent.
Ken Dorsey, QB’s Coach
Dorsey is currently a scout for Carolina but he was the quarterback that went 38-2 at Miami and, despite exceptional athleticism, nearly won a Heisman, twice. Dorsey has a brilliant mind, a true student of the game, and would be a phenomenal choice to work with Josh Freeman. He got every last ounce out of his athletic ability and enjoyed a six year NFL career largely because his football intellect was so beneficial to the other quarterbacks on the roster. I’ve read Cleveland and his time with Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn mentioned in particular.
This would be a hire I would be willing to take a wait and see approach with, because I think Dorsey would have a profound impact on Freeman. Dorsey would help Freeman become a better student of the game, would help him develop in the film room and with his reads. He would make Josh Freeman a smarter quarterback. Imagine if Freeman was able to improve his preparation and decision making… with that athleticism he could easily be one of, if not the best quarterback in the league.
Butch Davis, Defensive Coordinator
Davis was the architect of some of the best rosters college football has ever seen. He also was a defensive coach, including a coordinator, for some of the great Cowboys teams of the early 90’s. Like him or not the man can flat out coach.
While I would love see Davis come to Tampa to coach the defense, he’s had a few health issues of late and I’m not sure how anxious he is to jump back into coaching. Should he want to, he would make a phenomenal coach as both a veteran of the NFL and a great X’s and O’s guy and he would take a lot of stress off Schiano. Davis would be my top choice as D-Coordinator. I’m just not sure it’s a likelihood.
Not Going to Happen, But It Would Sure Be Nice…
Rob Chudzinski, Offensive Coordinator
Chudzinski coached tight ends under Butch Davis and took over offensive coordinator responsibilities when Davis left for Cleveland and Schiano took over Rutgers. Chudzinski called the plays when the Hurricanes won their national title. This past year he constructed an offense around Cam Newton that helped the rookie have one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history. He’s a rising star and was considered for the Bucs’ head coaching job.
But he’ll never be on Schiano’s staff because the Panthers would block any attempt to hire him. Unfortunately it would be a lateral move unless he’s the head coach so it’s really never going to get off the ground. Still, this would be an amazing choice to run the offense.
Art Kehoe, Line Coach
Kehoe is the current University of Miami line coach, and the de facto standard bearer for the entire program. More than that though, he coached the line when Schiano ran the defense and has helped developed some of the best NFL offensive linemen of the past three decades. Miami has turned out more pros than anyone since the 1980’s, and the brunt of those linemen were coached by Kehoe.
Unfortunately, Kehoe seems satisfied at Miami. Unless he knows some heavy sanctions are coming down on the Canes or really doesn’t like working for Al Golden, I don’t see him jumping pro.
Mark Stoops, Defensive Backs coach, Defensive Coordinator
Mark Stoops missed Greg Schiano by one year, but helped develop some of the players Schiano coached and recruited, namely Phillip Buchanon, Mike Rumph, Antrel Rolle, Ed Reed and Sean Taylor. If you noticed a pattern those were all first round picks, most are still pretty good pros, and one is a hall of famer. Obviously there’s talent involved, but all cite (or cited, RIP) Stoops as instrumental in their development. Stoops has also been instrumental in building a defense that has been top five in the nation in sacks the past two years at Florida State.
Unfortunately Stoops just took an extension from the Seminoles and his stated ambition is to be a college head coach, but you never know, maybe a chance to coach in the pros could entice him.