Monday, January 30, 2012

Schiano is dedicated to the cause

Greg Schiano has been taking on challenges his whole life, and where his recent task of rebuilding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL is daunting, the former Rutgers University coach is up for the task.

Mike Miello coached high school football in New Jersey for 43 years. He was old-school, the type of coach unlikely to deviate from his principles. One of his basic tenets: Freshmen didn't play on the varsity squad at Ramapo High.

But one year his team found itself thin up front. Assistant coaches suggested it was time to do the unthinkable. A baby-faced but tough-nosed freshman was turning heads at practice, and it was time to promote him, they implored Miello.

"I said, 'Are you kidding? He's a freshman!' '' Miello said Friday. "Well, I gave in, and we started him on the offensive line. By the fourth game of the season, he was starting both ways."

That kid was Schiano. But the feat wasn't a result of elite talent or athleticism, though he had a measure of both. It stemmed from Schiano's uncompromising effort and dedication to the craft.

"He made a study of the game of football," Miello said.

That's Schiano. Anything he does, big or small, he devotes every fiber of his being to it.

His next mission? Turning around the 4-12 Bucs.

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