Greg Schiano elevated Rutgers from the bottom of college football into a respectable program during an 11-year tenure before bolting to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in January. Now, he's trying to apply a similar turnaround in the NFL.
While with the Scarlet Knights, Schiano became familiar with Andy Reid and the Eagles. The Eagles drafted Rutgers players, and Reid also made himself available to Schiano.
"Coach Reid is a special, special person, and he did some things with our football team, that I know with the way Andy is, he doesn't like it mentioned, and I'll keep it private," Schiano said. "That would be my biggest impression of the organization - is the quality of man Coach Reid is and what he's willing to do."
Schiano's team is 6-6 and in the playoff race after the Buccaneers finished 4-12 last year and fired coach Raheem Morris. Schiano attempted to change the culture in Tampa Bay after successfully doing so in Piscataway, N.J.
Quarterback Josh Freeman said Schiano has preached "trust, belief, and accountability" to the players. He also has emphasized preparation.
"We say that preparation is our No. 1 advantage," Freeman said. "Whether it's practice, in the film room, studying at home, you've got to outprepare yourself from the previous week."
Schiano was reluctant to praise his team too early. Even though there's been a marked improvement from 2011 and the skepticism of hiring a college coach has quieted, he noted that a .500 record is not the benchmark.
"Right now we're a .500 football team trying to get a win this weekend," Schiano said. "I just hope that we can find a way to play our best this weekend and see if we can't get a win. I know the Eagles will try to do the same, so I know it's going to be a battle."