1. Bucs

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, quarterback Josh Freeman have history together

Josh Freeman fared poorly for Kansas State in the December 2006 Texas Bowl, losing 37-10 to Greg Schiano and Rutgers.
Josh Freeman fared poorly for Kansas State in the December 2006 Texas Bowl, losing 37-10 to Greg Schiano and Rutgers.
Published Jan. 28, 2012

TAMPA — New Bucs coach Greg Schiano and his new quarterback have a history together. They met five years ago at, perhaps, Schiano's highest point at Rutgers — and a turning point for Josh Freeman in his development at Kansas State.

Schiano's No. 16-ranked Scarlet Knights dominated Freeman and the Wildcats 37-10 in the December 2006 Texas Bowl to cap an 11-win season. The Wildcats scored their only touchdown on special teams. And Freeman threw for only 129 yards with one of his two interceptions returned for a touchdown.

"He was a freshman, and I can remember preparing for the bowl game being scared to death: 'If this guy breaks out of the pocket, we are in trouble,' " Schiano said Friday as he was introduced as Bucs coach. "I'm excited to have Josh here."

The Texas Bowl also marked the final game as Kansas State defensive coordinator for Raheem Morris, the man Schiano replaces in Tampa Bay. And Rutgers' Ray Rice rushed for 170 yards behind an offensive line that included current Bucs G Jeremy Zuttah.

Freeman was in Kansas City on Thursday when he got word Schiano had been hired. But he flew back to Tampa to meet Schiano and attend the news conference.

"I love his direction. He's a very passionate coach," Freeman said. "Those (values) are things that are timeless. His coaching philosophy has had success at Rutgers."

More players: Also attending the news conference were RB LeGarrette Blount, S Cody Grimm, WR Arrelious Benn and former RB Mike Alstott.

"Just left from meeting with Coach Schiano and met his family," Benn tweeted. "Real positive, man! Very excited for what's coming."

The next step: Schiano said forming the coaching staff will be a collaborative effort with GM Mark Dominik. But Dominik emphasized final decisions will rest with Schiano."

"It's very important that people understand this is his football staff," Dominik said. "I'm just here to help him along … and really just for checks and balances; to say, 'Hey, Coach, here are some other guys. What do you think of these?'

"But I want Coach Schiano to hire his football staff. So do the owners. We will put together the best staff."

That's a departure from the last time a coach was hired. Dominik took a more active role in the hiring of Morris' initial staff in 2009, including offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski and defensive coordinator Jim Bates. Neither made it through the season before being fired.

Schiano said he likely will bring in some of his Rutgers assistants.

"Certainly we have a lot of great coaches at Rutgers; really, really good coaches, NFL-level coaches," he said.

Rutgers offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti was the 49ers' quarterbacks coach in 2007. John McNulty, his offensive coordinator from 2004-08, is the Cardinals' receivers coach. And Darren Rizzi, his special teams coach from 2002-07, held the position for the Dolphins last season.

Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.