Head coach Greg Schiano coaching the Bucs' young defense.
Over the previous couple of years, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers boasted the league's youngest roster. Raheem Morris, then the head coach, was also the youngest ever to hold the position. The original idea was to build a team through the draft and have a coach who was relatable and player friendly.
It seemed to work, as they finished 2010 with a 10-6 record—a significant improvement over 3-13 in 2009.
But last season, things began to unravel.
The problem with youth is that it is often undisciplined. Morris had trouble reeling in his young players when things started to go bad. He nearly blew a gasket when defensive tackle Brian Price picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that eventually cost them a game against the Panthers last year.
While Morris may yet have a promising career ahead of him, many—including one of his former players—believed that he wasn't a good fit for this Buccaneers team given their youth and lack of professionalism.
Enter Greg Schiano.
Bucs veteran defensive back, Aqib Talib, admitted as much in a radio interview back in June with 790 The Zone in Atlanta. Talib told the hosts of Mayhem in the AM:
It got a little loose last year where people got a little too loose around the building. So Schiano definitely came in and brought that order back to the building.
Schiano, a fiery, competitive disciplinarian from the college ranks, came in with a reputation for being a bit of a control freak. When asked by NFL.com's Albert Breer about a report that he micromanages the temperatures of the team meeting rooms, he had this to say:
Those are the details most people don’t tend to. I don’t know if I put more on that than anyone else, but I make sure we’re thorough. You can (complain) about stuff when it doesn’t go right. Or you can get out in front of it.
His rules don't end with thermostats. He has a locker room seating chart, requires players to warm up for games in a straight line formation and demands that quarterbacks wear knee braces.
His plan was to change the culture of the team, much like he had done at Rutgers, to push the players to their limits—mentally and physically—through discipline and to get the best out of them. Former Rutgers quarterback Mike Teel reminisced:
I went home from practice and wanted to transfer. I hated the guy...As time goes on, he's going to push you to the max and get everything out of you—good and bad—and you're going to learn a lot about yourself. He weeded out the guys who weren't going to buy into the vision.