At First Glance: Buccaneers Blow Coaching Search


At First Glance is a new feature on The Pewter Plank where we don’t let the news settle before we react. You get one of our writers most visceral reactions, though that does come with the caveat that when cooler heads prevail we have license to change our minds…

After three and a half weeks of meandering about aimlessly with little success, the Buccaneers seem to have concluded their coaching search in absolutely unspectacular fashion. By hiring Rutger’s Greg Schiano. Now before everyone jumps down my throat, yes, it could be A LOT worse. I’ll give you that.

But when that’s the best icing you can put on this cake, it shows you just how far this organization has fallen since 2003. Let’s forget about the aimless set of initial interviews, the shot in the dark up in Eugene and all of the rest of that and just talk for a second about the actual man the Buccaneers just hired.

Let’s be honest and weigh the good with the bad. Why he deserves the job, and why he’s overwhelmingly under-qualified. Why hiring someone like Greg Schiano a few weeks ago makes sense, but at this point it’s just another laughable mistake in a squandered coaching search.

For starters, Greg Schiano could have been fine two weeks ago. I’ll say that right here and now, I would have jumped right on board if he had been the choice at the beginning of the search and was now hiring a very experienced set of coordinators to help him learn the NFL ropes.

But they didn’t, they waited until every other team had moved on to hiring their own coordinators before they decided to go get him. That puts both Schiano and the Bucs behind the eight ball. That’s a very large part of why I’m against this decision, moreso than the man himself. Without a guy that has considerable experience in the NFL as a head coach or coordinator, putting him at a disadvantage in acquiring an experienced staff is just patently irresponsible.

Now, Greg Schiano has one very impressive accomplishment under his belt. He presided over arguably the greatest defense I have ever seen in college football history in the early 2000’s at the University of Miami. Those teams were amongst some of the greatest ever assembled, on both sides of the ball. And you can still find the remnants of that roster having productive NFL careers to this day. I was actually raised watching those teams so I do actually have a lot of fond memories of Schiano. But I also need to be honest in my assessment, and part of that is not drinking to Cool-Aid that’s getting passed around twitter right now. At least now yet.

His tenure at Miami got Schiano an opportunity to coach at Rutgers where he went on to accomplish absolutely nothing. You think that’s harsh? I’m sorry. A lot of people point to the fact that, “it’s Rutgers.” Yes, but it was in the Big East and that was after the ACC took the three best schools in the Big East, Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College, out of the picture.

The Big East essentially turned into Conference USA, a mid-major, they’re still trying to fight to keep their automatic BCS qualification and Greg Schiano has never won that lackluster conference. In the entire time he was at the school he is a game over .500. If Rutgers can’t win the Big East how the hell does UConn, that’s a basketball school and there’s less football talent in Connecticut than in Jersey.

At least Chip Kelly was relevant. He’s got one of the best team’s in the country, he’s been in the BCS the past few years. Greg Schiano couldn’t win the Big East. That doesn’t seem to matter to the Glazers, but that’s hardly a ringing endorsement as a coach either.

Schiano does boast some NFL experience, that’s worth mentioning too. He was a defensive assistant for the Chicago Bears from 96-97 and took over coaching their defensive backfield in 1998, over that period the Bears were 15-33.

What does the record mean? Well it means whatever he learned? He learned it under a losing regime which means it’s still useful, but not in the way working on a winning team. Think about it in terms of today, who learned more in three years? An assistant with the Patriots or the Rams? You think working under Dave Wannstedt is a considerable NFL pedigree?

Wannstedt still won more than Schiano in college while they were in the same conference, but he’s hardly considered a great NFL coach off whose tree to pick fruit.

Greg Schiano could indeed turn into a very good NFL coach though.

He’s a defensive minded guy so he’s not going to be much use to Josh Freeman by himself, and as I mentioned the Bucs are already getting a late jump on hiring a coaching staff. But he could pan out. I’m going to give him a shot even though I’m mad with the Glazers about this hire.

But my question, and I think it’s justified. Outside of being the defensive coordinator at Miami a decade ago, what on Greg Schiano’s resume was worth this job?

And not being Mike Sherman or Brad Childress is a bad answer.