Greg Schiano reiterates that he wasn’t ready for the NFL

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 19 Penn State at Rutgers
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Two years ago, the Jaguars made a huge mistake by hiring college coach Urban Meyer to run the team. Nearly a decade earlier, the Buccaneers made a similar blunder.

The Bucs decided to take a gamble on Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, even though Schiano wasn’t seeking NFL employment. In a recent appearance on the Next Up with Adam Breneman podcast, Schiano reiterated his belief that he wasn’t ready to coach a pro team.

“The National Football League was something I was not prepared for,” Schiano said, via “I never prepared to be a head coach in the NFL.”

Schiano said that he took the job because: (1) it fell in his lap; and (2) he was concerned that Rutgers would end up on the losing side of the ongoing game of conference roulette.

“One thing I know is I’m not good if I don’t plan for stuff,” Schiano said. “The NFL is not a place to learn on the job, I can tell you that from experience.”

Schiano didn’t do himself any favors. He quickly became a lightning rod, with his decision to attack victory formation. He also did not soften the hard-nose college approach to grown men. His second and final season was marred by a feud with quarterback Josh Freeman, who eventually was released. After the year ended, Freeman was fired.

The moment of extreme regret when Schiano learned that Rutgers had received an invitation to the Big 10.

“I was sitting in my office in Tampa, palm trees blowing outside the window,” Schiano said. “People would say, ‘It doesn’t get better than that,’ right? They called me from Rutgers and said, ‘Guess what? We just got invited to the Big Ten.’ . . . I did my best to be excited for them. But I hung up the phone and literally started crying. Because that’s what I had dreamt of. I dreamt of Rutgers being in the Big Ten. But the only part of the dream that was missing was I wasn’t the head coach there.”

He’s now back as the head coach of Rutgers, and he’s been back for three years. His experience with the Bucs should be a cautionary tale for any owner who considers pursuing a college coach with little or no NFL experience and little or no inclination to come to the NFL. Indeed, there’s a fine line between outside-the-box and just f–kin’ nutty.

For Schiano, Meyer, and others like them (including Matt Rhule in Carolina), hiring college coaches who don’t truly understand the NFL games is an exercise in prolonged nuttiness.

17 responses to “Greg Schiano reiterates that he wasn’t ready for the NFL

  1. Jimmy Johnson made the jump but he’s one of the few who made the transition without much NFL experience.

  2. Add Saban, Spurrier, Chip Kelly and Kingbury to the list who failed. Dick Vermiel and JJ were successful.

  3. Teams should not be entitled to uncontested “victory” formations when the game is not out of reach!

    Of course, up by at least two scores with 10-20 seconds remaining; no point in either team risking serious injury.

    But as we’ve all seen, anything can happen. Botched snap, stupid penalty committed, QB trips, etc.
    Play until it’s over, at least mathmatically, and it isn’t your victory until you’ve closed it definitively.

  4. And to think the Glazers dumped Radio (already set up for failure) before finding a suitable replacement. When that failed, they settled for this bush league moron.
    At least Radio is still in the league today.

  5. I’ve been a Bucs fan since the Dungy days. It wasn’t all Schiano’s fault – the roster was pretty crummy – but he didn’t help himself at all.

  6. Schiano and the GM destroyed a franchise QB and decimated the team. It took nearly a decade for the Bucs to recover.

  7. oldgrouch says:
    May 22, 2023 at 1:28 pm
    Jimmy Johnson made the jump but he’s one of the few who made the transition without much NFL experience.

    Jimmy Johnson went 1-15 and 7-9 in his first two seasons. It mattered more that he swindled the Vikings in the Herschel Walker trade to amass a treasure trove of draft picks, that laid the foundation for their dynasty, than his ‘readiness’ to succeed in the NFL.

  8. At least Schiano had the guts to admit it – the vast majority wouldn’t & struggled with the exception of Jimmy Johnson. It’s totally different coaching youth straight out of HS with not much other than raw talent than coaching full grown men making millions that are already skilled players.

  9. Ummmm; not quite so fast. There have actually been several fairly successful “from college straight to the NFL” head coach examples. Plus, a couple that are usually classified as typical failures were not. For example: Chip Kelly took over an Eagles team that had just gone 8-8 and 4-12; and he went 10-6; 10-6 (setting the all-time team point scoring record); and 6-9. He got fired because the owner foolishly gave him full authority over personnel decisions (over Howie Roseman!), and Chip promptly destroyed the offensive line. Yes, he then took over an aging 49er team and tried to win with it instead of rebuilding and went 2-14; but nothing in his Eagles experience indicates he was overwhelmed in the NFL. Ditto for Kliff Kingsbury, who took over a 3-13 Cardinals team in need of a rebuild, and went 5-10-1; 8-8; and 11-6 before things fell apart last year, going 3-13 with a ton of injuries. But again, those first three years don’t indicate he was in over his head. Jim Harbaugh had been an assistant coach for several years for his Dad at Western Kentucky, then spent two years as an offensive assistant with the Raiders before spending seven years as a college head coach. He was then immediately successful when he took over a lousy 49er team. Again, not overwhelmed by an NFL head coaching position. Barry Switzer had been retired for five years following a great college coaching career, He took over a champion Cowboys team and went 12-4; 12-4 (won super bowl); 10-6; and 6-10. Yes, he took over a great veteran team, but nothing indicates he was overwhelmed by the NFL. Finally, John Robinson had been a lifelong college coach (with one year on the Raiders staff halfway through it), before taking over the Rams and making the playoffs in 6 of his first 7 seasons. Certainly wasn’t overwhelmed by the NFL. The fact of the matter is that the majority of first-time NFL head coaches, whether they come from college careers or NFL staffs, don’t do very well.

  10. He wasn’t ready? You don’t say. Demanding that grown men have their “toes on the line” during warmups in the very first OTA was the first proof of it. Failing to adapt when the captains raised concerns to him greased the skids for his exit. Destroying a potential franchise QB in Josh Freeman in favor of Mike Glennon was the final straw.

  11. It’s a way different game than college. Strict disciplinarians like Schiano just don’t work as well when dealing with grown men most of whom are making more than the coach. And plenty of college coaches get hired almost exclusively for their recruiting skills and those mean almost nothing in the NFL.

  12. Equal parts poor management and bad organizations.

    “Parity” plays it role too. Everyone thinks they should win. If they’re not winning in 3 years, everything gets tossed in the dumpster, and the cycle begins again.

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