“Except For Those Pesky Three Hours …”September 9th, 2013
They know Greg Schiano pretty darn well in central New Jersey, where the Star-Ledger covers Rutgers like a glove and treated Schiano moving on the Bucs like a president leaving office.
Schiano is respected in Jersey, but columnist Steve Politi reminds fans today that Schiano did yesterday what he often did at Rutgers: drop a dud performance at a critical time.
Things change fast in the NFL, but it must be hard for Rutgers fans not to have flashbacks. Every time Rutgers seemed on the verge of something, there was always a loss like this. The loss to Cincinnati in 2006 comes to mind, the awful performance after the thrilling win over Louisville. So does the start to the 2007 season, when Rutgers was supposed to build on that breakthrough year.
So does the ugly one in Connecticut, just before Schiano left town, when the Scarlet Knights had a chance to clinch a share of their first league title and played like they had the weight of the world on their shoulders.
This was always the knock on Schiano, the college coach: He was exactly the man you wanted in that job except for those pesky three hours on game day. That he spent five minutes with Eric LeGrand and his family after the way that game ended speaks to the other side.
Yes, winning big games – and titles — was a big knock on Schiano in college, but Joe wiped Schiano’s slate clean when he got to the Bucs.
However, Joe wrote many times that a huge X-factor for this Bucs season would be Schiano’s ability to prove himself as a strong NFL game coach. That wasn’t evident last season. And on top of that, Schiano would need to be able to outcoach Mike Smith and Sean Payton to rule the NFC South.
Joe’s still waiting for evidence to call Schiano a great gameday leader.