Friday, December 07, 2007

The leader in the Michigan coaching race: Greg Schiano

The Wolverines have had their radio silence broken, as word has come out of New Jersey tonight that Rutgers' head coach Greg Schiano has interviewed for the Michigan job.

Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano met with Michigan athletic director Bill Martin "for quite a while" to discuss the Big Ten school's coaching vacancy during the annual College Football Hall of Fame Banquet in New York City on Tuesday, according to a person who speaks regularly with Schiano.

Though no official offer has been made, according to the person, one could be forthcoming.

Finally, someone you can consider as a LEGIT candidate. Not a pipe dream like an Urban Meyer or Bob Stoops, not just a courtesy interview that were the talks with twin clueless coordinators Mike DeBord and Ron English, and not an utter joke like Brady Hoke.

For that matter, Schiano's not a "Michigan Man," ala the early favorite, Les Miles. That's a good thing for such an in-bred program. For an excellent profile of the Rutgers coach, read MGoBlog's "Profiles In Heroism: Greg Schiano."

Anyone that can win at fucking Rutgers, for crissakes, can out and out coach. Schiano's 11-2 2006 season would be the equivalent of the Wolverines winning consecutive national titles. This season's 7-5? Michigan going 11-1. Hell, that Rutgers going 7-5 can be considered a disappointment shows how far Schaino has brought the program. Going to 3 straight bowl games at Rutgers is one Hell of an accomplishment, damn near enough to erect a statue in your honor.

Schiano was offered, and turned down, the U last year. That took some guts, even if Miami is on a downward spiral. But would Schiano turn down an elite job like Michigan, if offered? Probably not, especially when factored in with the big time upgrades of Michigan's facilities. The desperately needed facilities upgrades at Rutgers have been all but been shelved, which may be why Schaino is now willing to leave.

There's always been the rumors swirling around Schiano that Penn State was his dream job. I'd bet Penn State would love Schiano, but it's apparent the administration can't do anything but wait out Joe Paterno. They sure as Hell aren't going to fire that cranky senior citizen. If they were, it would have happened a couple of seasons back, when they were in a free fall to the bottom of the Big 10 standings.

Does anyone seriously think that JoePa's ever going to retire? Me neither. Paterno is going to coach till he dies, and that's probably going to happen on the sidelines in Happy Valley when he's in his 90's. Thus, Schiano now having an open mind towards Michigan, as Penn State ain't happening.

Being that Schiano turned down Miami, and Penn State is inexorably intertwined with Paterno, can a hot young coach risk saying no to Michigan? It's MICHIGAN. The Big House. The winged helmets. The most wins in history. Are that that many college jobs better than the Wolverines? Less than you can count on both hands.

There's only so many opportunities to get a top tier job, and you stay a hot name for only so long. If Michigan's seriously interested, this may be Schiano's last, best chance to jump to the next level.

The news tonight that Schanio may have an offer forthcoming has me both worried and intrigued. Schiano has his far share of pros (Young, defensive minded, not part of the Michigan Mafia, somehow won at RUTGERS), but there are definitely some cons as well (Young, never won a conference title, a bit of a Lloyd clone, has only been a head coach at RUTGERS).

I think the pros do outweigh the cons, but it's not a slam dunk hire. If we are believe the Kirk Ferentz and Les Miles hoo-ha, Schiano is, at best, Michigan's 3rd choice, their plan C from Jersey.

My knee-jerk reaction? To mix my baseball-football metaphors, if Les Miles is a home run, and Mike DeBord is a strike out looking, Greg Schiano is a hard hit double that could be stretched to a triple.

In other words, Schiano's a coach I could get behind. He's one of the very few available coaches who's hiring might pull Bill Martin's sorry ass out of the fire.

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