On Monday, David Jones of The Patriot-News reported that Schiano is one of three coaches that have quietly made inquiries into the head coaching position at Penn State that isn’t vacant now, but could open up very soon:
Knowledgeable PSU sources have told me at least three other head coaches have had their intermediaries inquire about the Penn State job, curious about the chances it might come open:
Schiano made his name largely at Rutgers where, during a decade there, he turned the Scarlet Knights from a perennial loser into a viable force in the Big East with consistent bowl appearances.
Regardless, Schiano is not thought to be high on the would-be PSU contingency list.
As has been made apparent this season, nothing about Schiano happens quietly. And as rumors go, this one about a private inquiry into a college coaching job made by an “intermediary” isn’t nearly as scandalous as hearsay reports that broke earlier this season—like Schiano rigged a captain’s vote, or that the Bucs head coach leaked news about then-quarterback Josh Freeman’s private medical information.
But as is true about most rumors, the truth doesn’t matter as damage has already been done.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Schiano squashed the idea that he had any interest in the Penn State job. His only focus is his current post. “The only job I want is the one I have right now,” said Schiano.
Schiano on a report that his representatives have expressed an interest in the Penn St. HC job: "There’s zero truth to that...— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) December 24, 2013
Do you think it matters to the owners of the Buccaneers whether or not Schiano had his people contact Penn State’s people about this job?
The Glazer family may see this as a slap in the face.
Schiano wasn’t fired after an 0-8 start to the 2013 season, most likely because it’s rarely the right move to remove a head coach during the season, but possibly out of respect to Schiano. The move was terribly unpopular as the general public, and large portions of the media, were calling for Schiano’s ousting.
But the Glazers stuck with Schiano, and for a short period of time the move looked like a sound one. The Bucs won four out of five games between Week 10 and 14 and Schiano appeared to have the team turned in the right direction.
Then a home loss in Week 15 to the San Francisco 49ers happened. But that was expected. What wasn’t expected was a road loss the following week in St. Louis to the Rams, a team that has been mired in a season-long funk similar to Tampa Bay’s.
No one is quite sure how many games down the stretch Schiano needs to win to keep his job. It’s not even a certainty that his job can be saved or that he’s even on the hot seat. The Glazers are keeping very quiet on this topic.
Since no one knows the status of this decision, possibly not even the trio that’s making it, speculation has ensued.
In five days the Glazer brothers can make things right.
The siblings who own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can turn Black Monday into a shining day of hope.
They can tell head coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik thank you but your services are no longer needed.
Opinions are all over the place. But only the Glazers are making the decision.
Before the rumor came to light that Schiano threw his name in the hat for the yet-to-be-vacated Penn State job, the only data Tampa Bay’s ownership group had to use was his two-year track record. It’s checkered at best.
After going 7-9 in 2012, at best Schiano finishes 5-11 this season. There’s a real possibility that 4-12 will be the more likely result. After two seasons, Schiano’s record could be 11-21. There are six teams that already have 11 or more wins this season. Eight teams finished the 2012 season with at least 11 wins.
Should Greg Schiano be head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2014?
Schiano has been flamed for coaching decisions on the field and for not getting nearly the results he should from a roster chock-full of talent.
On the flip side, going 4-4 or 3-5 in the second half of the season is a marked improvement to the 0-8 start. And even though quarterback Mike Glennon has slipped over the last few weeks, signs of his development have shined brightly after he was thrust into the limelight.
Predicting the outcome of whether or not Schiano gets to keep his job is difficult. The Glazers could go either way. And with a decision that’s a fence-sitter, or as close to 50-50 as flipping a coin, Schiano didn’t do himself any favors by letting this Penn State rumor come to light.
Schiano said he didn’t do anything of the sort. Which means while the outside world is guessing "Will they or won’t they?" about the Glazers' decision to fire Schiano, the Glazers must find the truth in "Did he or didn’t he?" on Schiano.
It may not matter whether or not Schiano had someone inquire about the Penn State job—the damage may already be done.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.
Knox Bardeen is the NFC South lead writer for Bleacher Report and the author of “100 Things Falcons Fans Should Know & Do Before they Die.” Be sure to follow Knox on Twitter.