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: October 18, 2013, 03:53:36 AM

NFL still will try college coaches despite Greg Schiano's woes

 By Albert Breer
NFL Media reporter    NFL.com

Published:  Oct. 18, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press
(From left) Penn State's Bill O'Brien, Stanford's David Shaw and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin could draw NFL interest.

  Greg Schiano's Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 0-5, so his future is tied to the final 11 games of this season. And many believe those games will help shape NFL teams' perception of college coaches entering the next hiring cycle.

Whether or not that should be the case is another matter.

"I don't think it should," one NFC team executive said. "You can't look at one category (of coaches) and say this blanket idea applies. So you're not going to hire (Stanford coach) David Shaw because of Schiano? Well, what if you wanted to hire a really high-profile position coach? Should you not do that because of Raheem Morris? If you break these things down, there are hits and misses in each category. Where they come from, their background, has no bearing. If it did, everyone would fish from the same pond."

That, as matter of fact, is correct.

NFL Media studied every head-coaching hire made over a 14-year period (2000-13) and presented that list to a handful of decision-makers within the league. The only decisive conclusion they drew from looking at the list is there isn't one to be made. Ninety-four head coaches have been selected over the last 14 hiring cycles -- 46 NFL coordinators given their first NFL head-coaching shot, 26 men hired soon after leaving another NFL head-coaching job, along with 11 college head-coaching types, nine NFL position coaches, one college coordinator and one CFL coach.

Eight of those 94 men have won Super Bowl championships.

Four of them (Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin, Tony Dungy, Jon Gruden) were in their second NFL head-coaching stints. Two (Mike McCarthy, Sean Payton) had been NFL offensive coordinators. One (Mike Tomlin) had been a defensive coordinator. And the other (John Harbaugh) was hired after one year as a secondary coach, which followed a long run as a special teams coordinator.

Meanwhile, two of the 11 college coaches (Jim Harbaugh, Pete Carroll) still were standing during the divisional playoff round last season, one of them made the Super Bowl, and both have teams that remain among the league's elite. And they aren't the only ones having earned respect.

"Look at Doug Marrone (of the Buffalo Bills). For having an average team, and as much as people make of Schiano, they should be making more of what he's doing," a second NFC team executive said. "Doug's doing a really good job with average talent. Does that not count now?"

All of this, of course, isn't to rubber-stamp the idea of college coaches being hired into the NFL. It just shows how much of a crapshoot the whole thing is.

If Schiano doesn't turn it around in Tampa and winds up being fired, a dent will be left. The question will be how far-reaching the damage is.

"I think it'll be tough for a certain type of head coach -- the Schianos, the Sabans," one AFC college scouting director said. "Those guys are in complete control, and that's where you see the difference between a pro team and a college team. Those guys, in college, control the AD, they control the media, they control everything. I think those are the types that will start falling by the wayside."

Two NFL executives brought up Notre Dame's Brian Kelly as one coach who could be hurt by this dynamic, because of the league's sense of how he runs his program. The college director raised Ohio State's Urban Meyer -- who's never shown any desire to go to the NFL anyway -- as another coach who might be viewed differently in the wake of Schiano's struggles.

Other college coaches, most league executives believe, would be just fine. Penn State's Bill O'Brien should be in demand again. Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin probably will be, too. Both Shaw and Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald are alums of the programs they lead and considered to be tough gets, but they still could be pursued. Washington's Steve Sarkisian is well-regarded in pro circles and seen as a future NFL coach. One exec identified Air Force's Troy Calhoun as a dark-horse candidate.

So college coaches will continue to land on NFL head-coaching lists. And environment might be most important when making a hire.

The San Diego Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars were retooling their teams and could afford to grow up with young coach/GM tandems. The Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, had a veteran roster that had gone through considerable tumult, so a steady veteran hand such as Andy Reid was needed.

Remember, there was a time when Carroll was considered "perfect for college," the same way Belichick once was tagged "just a coordinator." As it turns out, both just needed the chance to build teams that better matched their personalities.


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Posts : 2920
#1 : October 18, 2013, 07:19:44 AM

There's a snowballs chance a college coach will have NFL success but that won't stop anyone from trying just like people play the lottery.
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