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Martin Fennelly Columns

Is Schiano the guy? Bucs fans will learn soon

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 12:35 PM
TAMPA -

He'll be introduced today as the ninth head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history.

We know he wasn't the first choice. For all we know, he wasn't the second choice either in this long, rollicking, often underwhelming and at one point jilted Bucs coaching search.

But the spinning wheel has stopped. You have your man, Tampa Bay.

Who's Greg Schiano?

We're about to find out.

If any of you had to drive around people dancing in the streets Thursday night, call us. We'd like to know where it happened, because we don't believe you.

It's not about the buzz or lack of buzz, anyway.

He's Greg Schiano and he probably doesn't care if his name buzzes or not — he's here to put a stamp on a team that needs one.

It's a surprising hire, an intriguing hire, at least.

He's Greg Schiano and he made Rutgers — Rutgers — into a football school. He might have been the second-most powerful man in the state of New Jersey, behind Gov. Chris Christie and ahead of Tony Soprano.

He also won exactly as many Big East football titles as USF: zero.

He built something but didn't finish the job in the most winnable BCS conference of all. If the Big East was too high a mountain to climb, what will the NFC South look like?

He's Greg Schiano, he's 45, but he's old school, hard-nosed, right from the Joe Paterno coaching tree. He worked at Penn State. He coached professionally for the Bears and the University of Miami.

He's Greg Schiano and he loves defense and running the ball. (Hello, Trent Richardson?)

I've got family in Jersey, and until Schiano came along, autumn Saturdays were for raking and burning leaves — or Rutgers game tickets. Schiano changed that, completely. It was no small deal.

We don't know if this is going to work. We never know at first with anyone.

We don't know if team owners the Glazers and general manager Mark Dominik saved face here at the end of their daffy search. The NFL types they interviewed underwhelmed them, which is their own fault. (Mike Sherman? Really? )

But imagine, after Chip Kelly dropped out, if the Bucs had been turned down by two college guys. What would have come after that, follow-up interviews with Plant High's Robert Weiner and Armwood High's Sean Callahan?

Yes, college coaches in the NFL are an iffy proposition.

They can soar (Jimmy Johnson, Jim Harbaugh) or crash and burn (Steve Spurrier, Nick Saban).

Come to think of it, NFL coaches in the NFL are iffy propositions.

Enough of that.

He's Greg Schiano and apparently his rules are the rules. He'll draw a line and hold to it, just what this young Bucs team needs right now after Raheem Morris.

He's Greg Schiano and he'll be crazy focused. He's about the details.

This I remember: It was a Schiano Rutgers team that stuck it to jumpin' Jim Leavitt and his then-undefeated, second-ranked South Florida Bulls on national TV in 2007.

Leavitt acted like a buffoon that night on the sideline.

Schiano looked daring and brilliant, like a guy who was going someplace.

And now he has.

Who's Greg Schiano?

We're about to find out.


mfennelly@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7352

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