INDIANAPOLIS — The last time Greg Schiano was at the NFL scouting combine, 14 years ago as a defensive backs coach for the Bears, things were much different.
A position coach was almost always allowed to interview for any job that represented advancement. But as the Bucs' new head coach, Schiano has found his attempts to lure assistants from other teams met with resistance.
"It was difficult," he said. "There are people that are my contemporaries, guys that I came up with in the business that I had a desire to have on our staff. But we were unable to do that because of contractual obligations, and that's understood. So then we kind of moved to different people that I thought were equally qualified but that maybe I had not worked with or guys that I didn't know quite as well."
Schiano has completed his defensive staff and announced Thursday that former Raiders assistant Bob Ligasheski will coach special teams. Schiano said he has three positions left to fill, including a quarterbacks coach.
Schiano said the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, has provided every resource it could to make Schiano's transition from coaching in college to the NFL smooth, including a commitment to spending in free agency. The Bucs have $67 million of salary cap space, the most of any team.
"They're committed to winning," Schiano said. "There's no doubt. … I'm going to make sure where we spend our money, we did it prudently because as we draft these great players and they become Bucs and they learn our culture and they learn how we do things, I want to be able to keep them."
During his first media appearance since being hired Jan. 27, Schiano touched on numerous topics, ranging from the future of cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Aqib Talib to the reason he wanted Butch Davis at One Buc Place.
• On Davis, the former college and NFL coach hired to be special assistant to the head coach: "What I wanted was someone who could help the head coach be a head coach, someone who had done what I was trying to do, and that's go from Division I college football (Schiano came from Rutgers) to the (NFL) and learn some of the good things that Butch did when he did it, some of the things he wishes he could have changed."
• On the possible return of Barber: Schiano met with the 15-year veteran for about 10 minutes recently and plans to sit down with him after the scouting combine. It sounds as though the Bucs would welcome Barber back if he can find a role in the new defense. "I'm just going to tell him, 'This is what we're going to try to build here. Where do you see yourself fitting in?' I think it's going to be a great exchange. …But I think no one knows better than Ronde what's best for all parties involved."
• On Talib, who is scheduled to stand trial in March in Texas on charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon in a shooting case and with whom Schiano said he met with recently: "We just kind of talked about life for a little bit. … He tells me (the legal issues) will (get resolved). Then from there, we're just going to go."
• On his plan for quarterback Josh Freeman: "What I'm going to do is ask Josh to just kind of take a mind eraser and start over. … Sometimes in your career you hit the reset button, especially after a tough go of it. So rather than look back at trying to get back to some old form he had … it's great you have a guy with that youth, the ability he has and the opportunity to hit the reset button at age 24."