Former Rutgers Lineman Jeremy Zuttah Reconnects With Coach Greg Schiano in Tampa

January 27, 2012 – 8:20 am by Eric Schmoldt

Jeremy Zuttah was part of the building process at Rutgers when Greg Schiano took over and put together a winning program. The offensive guard now hopes he’s a part of the same sort of thing, but at the next level.

Schiano has been hired as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, reuniting with his former offensive guard at the professional level. While some college head coaches transitioning to the next level have struggled, Zuttah says Schiano may be just what the Bucs need at this point, as he will give every player a chance but won’t cut corners in building a winner.

Jeremy Zuttah joined WDAE in Tampa to discuss his reaction to the hiring of Greg Schiano, what his teammates can look forward to in their new coach, if he thinks the state of the Big East had anything to do with the decision, what Schiano was able to accomplish at Rutgers, what happened to the Bucs this year, and what he’d say to fans that are shocked by the hiring.

What was your initial reaction to your team hiring your former coach Greg Schiano?:

“It was a little surprising. It just kind of came out of nowhere for a lot of people, I think, but I think it’s a great hire. Coach Schiano is a great man and a great coach and we look forward to seeing what he can do in the NFL.”

What do your teammates have to look forward to in their new head coach?:

“He’s a great coach. You know he’s a tough coach, but you can tell by the way he does things that he cares about everybody. He cares about, most importantly, doing everything the right way. That’s going to be big for a lot of the players and that’s what he’s going to harp on. … He’s just a guy that, most importantly, believes in building things the right way. Just the way he did things at Rutgers, he could’ve done things the quick way or the easy way to get to wins, but I think he built something that’s going to last after he’s gone.”

Do you think his decision came partially because of the current state of the Big East?:

“I don’t know. It’s tough to say. I can’t speak for him. … For a lot of people just associated with the program, I think people were kind of disappointed with the bowl tie-ins and what’s up for grabs and what’s going to happen — certain unknowns. … But I don’t know how that affected his decision one way or another.”

On Schiano going 56-28 in his last six years after taking over a program that was in a pretty bad way:

“It wasn’t bad, it didn’t get any worse than the situation he was going into.”

Some would say he’s coming into a bad situation in Tampa. What happened this year?:

“I think we’re a young, talented team. There’s a lot of talent, a lot of people coming back that have done some good things in the league. If you’ve done them before, you can do them again. I think there’s a strong core returning and just a guy here and a guy there and we can be close to competing at the highest level in the league.”

What would you say to Tampa Bay fans as to why they should respect this pick as head coach what would it be?:

“I think he’s just what the team needs right now. He believes in doing things the right way. It doesn’t really matter who you are or what you’ve done, he wants you to do things a certain way and I think that will be conducive to results for the way things were last year. It’s no disrespect to anybody who was there last year, especially not to Coach Morris, but he might just be what the team needs right now.”

Listen to Jeremy Zuttah on WDAE in Tampa here

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