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Whether Schiano will succeed as an NFL coach still to be determined

by | CBSSports.com College Football Insider

TAMPA, Fla. -- T.B.A.

That, new Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said, is his core message: "Trust, belief, accountability."

I guess TBA is better than DOA, which summed up the Raheem Morris head coaching experiment that crashed and burned after three seasons, or MIA, which described the Bucs' defense last season.

The new call letters are TBA.

"There will be one common message," Schiano said. "Before we get to the X's and O's, before we get to the fundamentals, it's something that I believe is critical: 'TBA' -- and that's not 'To Be Announced.' It's trust, belief and accountability.

"Trust -- 100 percent honesty, no room for 99. One hundred percent honesty and do what you're supposed to do when you're supposed to do it. Belief -- belief in yourself No. 1; belief in the Buccaneer way. There is going to be a Buccaneer Way; they're going to be Buccaneer men. You have to believe in that way, otherwise this isn't the place.

"And accountability. All those things are great. But as a coaching staff, team and organization, we have to hold each other accountable. That's not always easy. That's where it gets sticky. That's where it gets tough. That's my job as the head football coach."

TBA also means it's going to take some time to figure out whether the Bucs have hired their next Tony Dungy or Richard Williamson.

After Oregon's Chip Kelly accepted and then turned down the Bucs job Monday morning, the Bucs went back to school for Schiano. I asked Bucs general manager Mark Dominik whether it was a coincidence the only two coaches the Bucs offered the job to were college head coaches or if they were the two best candidates.

"We were searching for the best football coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers," Dominik said.

Some folks in Tampa, though, are a little confused how the best football coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers failed to win at least one Big East title in 11 seasons at Rutgers. But to Schiano's credit, he built Rutgers from a laughingstock into a competitive BCS program.

"We studied his performance as a builder of how he grew a football team," Dominik said. "What made it more interesting was the consistency he was able to build there.

"I understand he didn't win a Big East title. That's not, to me, how you chose a football coach. You chose a football coach on what he can do and what he's been able to maximize for what he's got. I feel Rutgers football is very impressive right now and that's all due to Greg Schiano."

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As impressive as Dominik believes Schiano has been at Rutgers, Schiano has had nowhere near the success in the college ranks as Nick Saban, Steve Spurrier and Pete Carroll, who each won a national championship but tanked in the NFL.

Since 2000, eight college coaches have gone to the NFL -- Saban, Spurrier, Carroll, Jim Harbaugh, Lane Kiffin, Bobby Petrino, Dennis Erickson and Butch Davis -- and they have combined to coach 16 NFL seasons. These eight have combined for a grand total of two playoff appearances.

Harbaugh, who went 13-3 in the regular season and was one win shy of the Super Bowl in his rookie year at the helm of the 49ers, is the only one of the eight with a winning record.

The other seven combined for a 37.4 winning percentage -- or make that a 62.6 losing percentage.

Why should the Bucs think Schiano will be any different?

"The reality is it's easy to point to college coaches that made that jump," Schiano said. "But six, eight, nine coaches get replaced [each year]. There are pro coaches that have been fired as well. Really, if you look at it [as] a whole, percentages are percentages. Everybody has trouble. It's a competitive league. That's the fun part."

Schiano was CEO-sharp in his news conference and, yes, he won it. Actually, what coach doesn't win at news conferences these days? The bottom line is Schiano's businesslike demeanor and attention to detail are exactly what this young Bucs team direly needs.

Make no mistake: Schiano is ready to get to work. Immediately.

"I don't believe in doing anything except to be the best," Schiano said. "We're going to be the best, starting today. How long that will take? I can't tell you that. We're going to work and be the best we can be every single minute. I've said this many times: When our best is the best, we'll be Super Bowl champions."

Yes, the Super Bowl. Since the Bucs won the Super Bowl in 2003 under Jon Gruden, the Bucs are 22 games under .500.

Schiano said he learned a great deal from many individuals, including Joe Paterno.

"His No. 1 statement: Time is our enemy," Schiano said. "That's the only thing that all of us on this planet have the same amount of: fourteen hundred and 40 minutes a day. What you make of them. That's going to determine our success."

While others may be skeptical of the hire, I actually think Schiano will be a success in Tampa. And yes, I realize he will no longer be able to feast on a schedule featuring Norfolk State and Army. But he has the type of attitude and make-up that players respond to. He commands -- and demands -- respect.

Schiano's work won't be easy in the NFC South. That's fine with him.

"Legendary coach John Wooden, I try to live by his definition of success," Schiano said. "It's the peace of mind you get when you know you've done everything you can to be the best you can be. You can't do anything else."

Schiano said the Bucs "will be built around a humble, unselfish attitude with sacrifice. It's hard to find that in today's world, but that's who we'll be."

But will they be successful? That's TBA.


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