The lengthy search for Bill Belichick’s new defensive coordinator has finally conceded. Though it didn’t take that long to find Brian Flores’ replacement as he heads down south to reinvigorate a winning culture in Miami as the new head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Ohio State’s defensive coordinator Greg Schiano got the nod Wednesday morning to become the team’s new defensive coordinator, per a report from Jim McBride of the Boston Globe.
This comes as revelating news for a coaching staff that’s seen voluminous adjustments over the past five months. The former offensive coordinator for the Buckeyes got appointed the role of head coach after the decorated and tenured Urban Meyer’s departure, and now he and the rest of the Buckeyes staff will be shortly tasked with finding Schiano’s replacement.
Schiano has multitudinous ties with the NFL. He was a defensive assistant-turned-defensive backfield coach with the Chicago Bears from 1996 to 1998 and the Buccaneers head coach in 2012 after an 11-year stint with Rutgers, a team so good that at a point were the 7th best team in the country in 2006. He was handed a pink slip a year later after his hiring at Tampa, posting an 11-21 record with expectations of deep playoff runs falling way short.
For two years, he continued to hone his craft as a teambuilder by coaching at Berkeley Preparatory School in Tampa, Florida while being fortunate enough to send two of his players to Davidson College in North Carolina. His coaching style once again became nationally noticeable and was given the opportunity to return to the collegiate level and be Urban Meyer’s defensive coordinator.
Now, he will get his second opportunity to be a coach in the NFL.
Belichick’s defense is in good hands since Flores’ domineering final showing in Super Bowl LIII, holding a Rams offense awash with talent to only 3 points. To make matters even better, The former Buckeyes coach will inherit Duron Harmon, Jason and Devin McCourty, who all played under Schiano’s regime at Rutgers, as did safeties coach Steve Belichick. Logan Ryan, Kenny Britt and a handful of former Scarlet Knights will be pleased in introducing Schiano to the Patriot Way as well.
A 68-67 overall record as the man in charge of the Scarlet Knights with six winning seasons, and five bowl-game victories in his final seven years there attest to a fact that the former Knights and current Patriots have already known: Schiano is a hard-nosed competitor who is relentless in his pursuit of repeated success.
He is in line to be the third defensive coordinator in the past three seasons as both Flores and Matt Patricia will both have head coaching jobs in Miami and Detroit. A strong rapport with the Pats’ locker room and unanimous support from Belichick and his peers spells a silky-smooth transition from Columbus to Foxborough. Bill Belichick has often praised the former Rutgers coach, citing the similar defensive philosophies the two have.
“I think Coach Schiano is a great defensive coach and he’s really coached all the positions — line, linebacker, DBs,” Belichick said in 2015. “He’s had a lot of extensive work with defensive backs and I think he does a great job with them.
Belichick continued, “The way he runs his program, runs his defense, teaches and so forth, that’s all a great part of preparing players either in a similar way that we do it or when he was in college prepared them to come into our program with some changes but minimal maybe compared to other teams.”
Schiano will lead the statistical 21st best defense in the league last year (according to FantasyFootballers.org’s defensive rankings) into battle and for Patriots fans who wish to see Brady uphold the dynasty for another couple of years, the chance to do just that is there for the taking now that a defensive-minded veteran is taking the reigns of Belichick’s second-most important side of the football.