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The lesson with Greg Schiano: Coaches can’t treat men like children

The Josh Freeman era is now over in Tampa, but that might only be the tip of the iceberg. It might now only be a matter of time before owner Malcolm Glazer decides his head coach — who has become the antagonist in this fiasco — is doing more harm than good. And if/when Greg Schiano gets fired, the key takeaway will be that college head coaches can't merely take the player management and discipline tactics they used in the NCAA and apply them to the NFL. 

This has nothing to do with schemes or snap counts. It's all about locker room morale, which is vital. You can't succeed in football if the relationship between the coaches and the players isn't strong. That doesn't mean you can't be tough, but you have to find a happy medium between being a parent and being a fellow adult male. 

Based on what we're hearing about Schiano's reign in Tampa — and "reign" is the operative word — he's spent the majority of his time being a parent. He's handed out an exorbitant number of fines for seemingly small-time transgressions and he requires that all media interviews come through his office first. It's too much. It's over the top.

This tidbit from The MMQB's Andrew Brandt, for example, doesn't fly in the NFL:

In speaking with agents of several Bucs players recently, I have sensed a common theme: There is an atmosphere of fear and distrust under the current regime in Tampa. Players have told their agents about coaches roaming through the locker room (typically the players’ sanctuary away from coaches) and staff videotaping players on the sidelines during losses to single out players laughing or horsing around.

College coaches are supposed to be strict. They're dealing with teenagers. The moral responsibility is larger. They have to mold these young men on and off the field. But once players have reached the NFL, they're all grown up. They've been through that wringer. They still have to be managed and even bossed around at times, but if you continue to micro-manage their lives the way Schiano appears to be doing in Tampa, you risk losing their respect. 

When is the last time a team came close to the Super Bowl without respecting its coach? It just doesn't happen. Football is too much of an emotional game. If you don't believe in your leader, you don't stand much of a chance. 

Take note, future first-time NFL head coaches. Don't do what Greg's been doing. 

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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