Look, as an Ohio State Buckeyes football fan, you can’t really be mad that things didn’t work out with Greg Schiano and the University of Tennessee. Having Schiano back in Columbus for the 2018 season will be crucial, especially with so many defensive talents heading to the NFL. Some of those now former-Buckeyes spoke at the NFL Combine about the significance of getting the opportunity to play for Coach Schiano and how he helped prepare them for the next step.
Schiano missed out on another head coaching job thanks to protests by Vols fans and students, but it would seem by the glowing recommendations given by his players at the combine, that UT missed out on someone who can really develop young talent. (I mean, he did coach some NFL-caliber players out of Rutgers for over a decade.)
Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard made the decision to leave Columbus early and declare for the NFL Draft. His performance at the combine certainly helped his draft stock, and he had some words about Coach Schiano’s influence and support during his media session in Indy.
He’s just a great mentor. He has so much experience and so much knowledge. When I asked him throughout this process about issues or how to handle things, he picked the phone right up and told me the best thing to do and how to handle every situation.
Schiano left Rutgers after the 2011 season, and went on to take his first NFL head coaching gig with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It was a short, two-year stint down in Florida, but the experience helped give the coach a greater insight into how to prepare for, and to succeed at, the next level. NFL prospect Jalyn Holmes also spoke at the Combine about how Schiano made Ohio State feel like a mini-NFL team.
It was a great experience. An NFL coach, it felt like an NFL coach. It felt like every coach we had at Ohio State, they treated you like an NFL team. Ohio State was a mini-NFL team in a way. When I go to these NFL teams now, we talk it’s the same deal.
Of the many different ways Schiano has helped these Buckeyes prepare for an NFL career is by utilizing a unique playbook that puts different players in different positions to succeed. Switching things up for the DEs and linemen did more than give them additional experience, it also gave them additional film to shop to teams and scouts during the pre-draft gauntlet. Hubbard specifically talked about benefiting from Schiano’s scheme.
This last year, coach Schiano took over the defense and he’s got a lot of tricks up his sleeves. He wanted to do a lot of things to switch up the looks. He used me and my versatility to be able to stand up, drop, rush from different spots. He wanted to give different looks and surprise offenses and I was able to be the moving piece to do that. it also showcased to teams what I can do at the next level.
It’s understandable that Schiano would have looked at other coaching opportunities following the 2017 season. Not only did he fulfill his two-year commitment to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes, but he also was going out with one of his best defensive lines he had ever coached, including in the NFL — according to Schiano himself . Hubbard was asked about this high praise from the veteran coach, and the Buckeye acknowledged the honor.
We sort of knew we were getting high praise like that and it put pressure on us to deliver on that. When someone like coach Schiano sticks his neck out like that, you have to live up to it. We did our best to have a great season and live hard and play up to that. It was a great honor that he said that.
Schiano has seemingly made the most out of his career resurgence in Columbus, and while he didn’t get to explore new opportunities in 2018, the glowing reviews from former players and tangible NFL successes, should make the coach a hot commodity on the coaching market next offseason.