There have been times the past few weeks when Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano felt a little like a telemarketer.
In his ongoing quest to fill out his coaching staff, he's repeatedly been told, "Thanks, but no thanks."
Not that Schiano minds the rejections.
Though he failed to land several coaches he thought were critical to the Bucs' cause, Schiano thinks it might prove better for his team in the long run that he was pushed outside his comfort zone.
"Had some of the people that I had worked with been able to make the move here to Tampa, then it would have happened a lot more quickly,'' Schiano said. "But when it didn't happen, I wasn't just going to rush to fill up a staff."
Schiano, who was the head coach at Rutgers the past 11 seasons, acknowledged he hired his initial staff there too quickly. This time, he is being thorough and patient.
"You don't just bring in a guy and interview him," he said. "You're on the phone talking to people that you know know him, and those are not 10-minute conversations; they're 30-minute conversations.
"You have to take your time, because you really want to get to the bottom of things and learn about the guy."
Most of the rejections Schiano received came from NFL teams denying his request to speak to members of their coaching staffs. Most recently, Tampa Bay attempted to talk with another Giants assistant, Kevin Gilbride Jr., the son of offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, about the Bucs' quarterback coach position, but was denied, according to a report on NFL.com.
When Schiano left the NFL in 1998 after three years as the secondary coach for the Chicago Bears, it was an unspoken rule, he said, that if someone had the chance to advance, coaches could move from team to team.
"I also understand that abuse leads to restrictions, and that's exactly what happened with all the half-baked titles and that stuff that we have now," Schiano said. "There are people that are my contemporaries, guys that I came up in the business with, that I had a desire to have on our staff, but we were unable to do that.
"So, then we kind of moved to different people that I thought were equally qualified but that maybe I had not worked with or were guys that I didn't know quite as well. But I'm comfortable with the pool of people we have and I'm not going to rush.''
Connecting the dots
Speculation began almost as soon as the hiring was announced.
With former LSU secondary coach Ron Cooper taking over the same position with the Buccaneers, it would be natural for the team to spend its first-round draft pick this year on former Tigers CB Morris Claiborne, right?
Not so fast, Schiano said.
"Somebody said to me, that's the only reason we hired him,'' Schiano said. "I said, 'Yeah, we would do that; we would jeopardize the entire football team for that.' No.''
The reunion could still come about, of course. The Bucs are in need of help at cornerback, and Claiborne is expected to be available when Tampa Bay makes the fifth overall pick.
"We will have some inside info (on Claiborne),'' Schiano said. "But that's not why we hired Ron. Ron is an exceptional secondary coach. He's an excellent coach, obviously, by the way (his) guys (at LSU) have performed.''
Cooper helped the Tigers produce consecutive Jim Thorpe Award winners in Claiborne and Patrick Peterson, recognized as the nation's top defensive back.