The Guessing Game

September 6th, 2012

Joe vividly remembers one of his many interviews with Bobby Bowden, then still lording over the Florida State football program, on a hot May morning on a Clearwater golf course.

Among the questions Joe asked of Bowden was about how his Noles would open the 2001 season on Labor Day night against Miami. Butch Davis had just run off to Cleveland (and Canes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano had just bolted to Rutgers), and Larry Coker was taking over.

Joe asked Bowden how he can prepare for a team in the first week of the season that has a new coach and new assistants.

“You can’t,” Bowden said in his famous Alabama barbecue drawl, shaking his head. Bowden went on to say a team just had to go by tape of what coordinators and coaches had done in the past and hoped they used the same tactics. Bowden added that in a situation like that, a team generally just focuses on what they do more than the mystery of an opponent’s new coaching staff.

This is the corner Carolina coach Ron Rivera finds himself in. Not only do the Bucs have a new coach (Schiano), the Bucs (thankfully) have both a new defensive coordinator and offensive coordinator.

Like Bowden a decade ago, Rivera admits trying to prepare for the unknown is sort of a stab in the dark.

“That is always tough,” Rivera said. “When I was a coordinator, I always wanted to open up against someone that you knew, and that you felt confident about. Going up against Coach Schiano, and really what they are going to do both offensively and defensively is going to be new. We’re only going to see parts of it, based on what they do in the preseason. Some of it is a guessing game but the one thing you do know and you do expect from a Coach Schiano football team is a bunch of hard-nosed football players.”

If the Bucs — and Schiano — do have an advantage Sunday, it is the unknown factor. Mike Sullivan has never been an offensive coordinator before. Though Bill Sheridan has been a defensive coordinator before, he certainly didn’t have the same roster to work with when he called the shots for the Giants defense.

5 Responses to “The Guessing Game”

  1. Ben Says:

    As everybody, I’m pumped for the first game. One thing that is referenced here by Rivera is the Schiano “hard nosed football player.” We can only hope, but I agree… Schiano cn impact this team, starting in the first game, just by putting a team of meantally and physically tough players on the field.

    After last season, a team that runs and hits would be an improvement.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    They will not quit on Schiano, and still be here. That’s for sure.

  3. Orlandobucsfan Says:

    I am very excited for Sunday I honestly just hope my excitement level is not ruined in game number one but I think we will be in the game and can pull out a win. If you think ticket sales are bad now imagine if the first game goes very wrong! I for one really believe in the new schiano era and everything we have done so far.

  4. stevek Says:

    LaVonte David, we need you buddy.

    I hope he is in Newton’s face all game.

  5. bucfanjeff Says:

    I’m hoping we can use that advantage to jump out to a quick lead and hold on.