Now that the whirlwind courtship between the Buccaneers and Greg Schiano is complete, Tampa Bay's new coach will be busy in the coming weeks. These items figure to be at the top of Schiano's to-do list.
1. Assemble a staff
The Bucs need a coaching staff in place by next month's scouting combine at Indianapolis. A number of premier assistants already have been hired by other teams, and Schiano did not have the benefit of talking to potential candidates at the Senior Bowl.
2. Call Ronde Barber
Tampa Bay's veteran cornerback was close to Schiano's predecessor, Raheem Morris, and uncertain if he wants to return for a 16th NFL season. As an unrestricted free agent, Barber could retire or try to land with another club. Barber was Tampa Bay's steadiest defensive back in 2011, and the team doesn't know if Aqib Talib will be available next fall.
3. Take Josh Freeman to dinner
In Freeman's freshman year at Kansas State, he lost to Schiano's Scarlet Knights 37-10 in the 2006 Texas Bowl, throwing two interceptions. Five years later, Schiano must help Freeman, who just turned 24, get back to the form he showed in 2010.
4. Hit the film room hard
Schiano admittedly kept track of the Buccaneers from afar during his 11 years at Rutgers. He has yet to study the 2011 game tapes or evaluate Tampa Bay's personnel in depth. Heading into free agency and the 2012 draft, in which Tampa Bay owns the No. 5 overall pick, Schiano must quickly get up to speed on the roster's strengths and weaknesses.
5. Be visible in the community
With their attendance issues well documented, the Bucs need to market Schiano as a fresh face to their disillusioned supporters. Blackouts continue to be a concern, and you can expect Schiano to be a focal point in Tampa Bay's efforts to ramp up season-ticket sales.