Lose out on one prominent college football head coach? No problem, just hire another.
Just days after Chip Kelly spurned them by deciding to stay at the University of Oregon, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired Rutgers’ Greg Schiano to be their next head coach. He takes over for Raheem Morris, who was fired after a disastrous 2011 season in which the Bucs lost their final 10 games while stumbling to a 4-12 record.
The three finalists to take over as coach of the Bucs were apparently Panthers’ offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, fired Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman, and Schiano. Just 45 years old, Schiano gained the respect of his peers and media members after impressively transforming Rutgers into a Big East power. Since 2001, the Scarlet Knights have gone to six bowl games, winning their last five. Schiano led them to a win in their most recent bowl game, a 27-13 victory over Iowa State in the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl.
What’s interesting is that Kelly and Schiano couldn’t be more different in terms of offensive philosophies. Oregon has had one of the most dynamic offenses in college football under Kelly, who runs a zone-read scheme that is unlike any system currently in the NFL. Schiano, meanwhile, has always run a “smashmouth,” run-first offense that uses a heavy dose of running back committees.
The contrast in styles makes you wonder whether or not the Bucs knew what they wanted in their next head coach. Did the Glazers just want to make a splash hire following their Morris tenure? Were they focused on a disciplinarian? Did they want to use the same blueprint as the 49ers, who obviously just had a ton of success following the hiring of former Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh last year?
Schiano is a great football coach and appears to be less of a gamble than Kelly, whose offense may not have survived in the pros. But it’s odd that in the end, the Bucs’ top two choices had such contrasting styles (at least offensively).