A gentler Schiano in second season with Bucs?
INDIANAPOLIS -- Last year in a poll of NFL players, Greg Schiano was voted the coach they would least like to play for. The survey did not include Bucs players, who might have had a thing or two to say about being under the thumb of their heavy-handed head coach.
Schiano is wound tighter than the spiral on a Josh Freeman pass. Players still will have to have their toes on the line when it comes to stretching drills. But the Drill Sergeant approach may be a gentler one in Year 2, Schiano says.
“We had one big thing we had to do. We had to establish a culture in the building,’’ Schiano said. “Sometimes, you have to go overboard one way or another to get that culture established. But I think at this point, our football team understands who I am and how our football program is going to be run. I think that happened as the season went on.’’
The devil still is in the details for Schiano. He will continue to insist quarterbacks wear braces on the leg that strides into passes. Players may have to still carry two water bottles to meetings. But other mandatory rules could be suspended. Like what?
"Oh, just some mandatory things I don't think grown men need,’’ Schiano said. “Take mandatory meals. If a guy is meeting his weight -- we have goal weights a guy has to meet each week -- if a guy is meeting his weight, I don't think they need any of our staff making sure they check in for breakfast and for lunch. They're grown men, they're professional athletes. But again, we had to establish a culture of accountability. But now they understand. And if your weight isn't where it's supposed to be, you will get checked in.’’
Schiano is sensitive to criticism that he overworked his players in training camp and in practice, leading to a late-season swoon after a 6-4 start.
"Did you overwork them? You can't overwork a team in the National Football League the way the rules are,’’ Schiano said. “I mean, you can't. We went out and practiced shorter than I've ever practiced in this league or any other league. And now, they don't have the pads on. What we have to do is look and say, “What are the things that help our team win games? Then, are there things we did do just to establish the culture that are no longer necessary?’’
Schiano believes he has enough veteran leadership – from receiver Vincent Jackson to guard Davin Joseph – that he doesn’t have to be the heavy.
“What I'm really pleased about is that our leadership will teach the new guys that,’’ Schiano said. “Everyone was rookies as far as our way of doing things. Now only our rookies will be rookies and our free agents will be our rookies. We can teach them how we do things. I'm looking forward to that too because I like coaching football and I like developing a relationship with our players and a lot of times, when you're establishing something, that has to take a backseat because of the greater good of the group. I'm looking forward to just being a coach.''