Buccaneers players were just as caught off guard by the hiring of Rutgers' coach Greg Schiano today, but the ones we spoke to seemed excited and maybe somewhat relieved to finally have a new boss.
With the hire of Greg Schiano as the new head coach of the Buccaneers, there are many unknowns for fans, but maybe more so for the Tampa Bay players. After what has been a somewhat lax atmosphere around One Buccaneer Place over the past three seasons, the one thing that most certainly will change will be the discipline and the accountability that Schiano will bring.
While a few current players are probably dreading the regime change, the Buccaneers PewterReport.com spoke to and those that have spoken to other media outlets seem to be happy with the choice of Schiano as Tamp Bay’s new head coach.
Safety Tanard Jackson told PewterReport.com that while he doesn’t know a lot about Tampa Bay’s new coach, he is looking forward to having him at the helm.
“I have a little familiarity with him since I played at Syracuse but from what I do know is he a good leader and really turned the program at Rutgers around,” Jackson said.
Jackson was asked if having a more disciplined style coach would benefit the Buccaneers’ young roster.
“I think it will definitely help us in the long run,” Jackson said. “We are all professionals and this is our job, but if guys don’t respond or aren’t receptive to it then they will be replaced.”
Receiver Ed Gant also wasn’t all that familiar with Schiano, but does remember how good the Miami Hurricanes were during Schiano’s tenure as defensive coordinator.
“Those late 90’s classes and teams were some of the best ever,” Gant, a Miami, Fla. native, told PewterReport.com. “I’m all for anyone being coach that was part of those years in Miami. My brother (former Buc Phillip Buchanon) played there when Schiano was there.
“I’m glad we finally got a coach and can now get to work. I’m starting my offseason workouts tomorrow and it will be great to get back to Tampa and have our team bond with a new coach and get this past season off our minds and the bad taste out of our mouth.”
Buccaneers tight end Kellen Winslow was on Sirius NFL Radio earlier Thursday and expressed some disappointment that former Hurricane assistant and current Rob Chudzinski wasn’t hired, but in the end, he seemed to like the Schiano hire.
“I was really hoping for Coach Chudzinski, who I was with at Miami and Cleveland,” Winslow said. “But, you know, we got another guy in Greg Schiano, who I know, and heard he’s one of the best coaches people have been around. He’s got a lot of enthusiasm and [is] real energetic so I’m excited, man.”
Bucs rookie running back Mossis Madu was another player caught off guard by the Schiano hiring, but likes what he has heard so far.
“A friend texted me and told me he was hired,” Madu said. “I don’t know a lot about him but from what I have heard he seems like a good defensive coach that will bring some discipline to our team. I think it will be good for us all and I’m looking forward to getting started to try and correct last year. I think we all are.”
Colts linebacker Gary Brackett played for Schiano at Rutgers and as a native of New Jersey knows how far the program has come under Schiano’s guidance.
“When I started in the NFL, Rutgers was a joke,” Brackett said. “Coaches would tell us to ‘pay attention, we aren’t playing Rutgers this week.’ But coach came in and changed that. Coach is a man of faith and character and really was loved by the players on the team and I think it is a great hire for Tampa Bay.”
Buccaneers guard Jeremy Zuttah played under Schiano at Rutgers and was very complimentary when speaking about his new head coach to Tampa Bay Times reporter Stephen Holder.
“He really stresses doing things the right way, all the time," Zuttah said. “Not just when your coach is watching. He’s just a great coach. I think with the attention to detail and doing things the right way, players know he’s tough. But you know he cares, too.
“For me, the ability to do something special really appealed to me. We tried to put Rutgers on the map, and that’s what we did. When he got there, they were plain losing. But he went in there with a plan. What he built there will last.”
Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, who played for Schiano at Rutgers simply tweeted Thursday afternoon, “The Bucs are getting a great man and a great coach.”
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