NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - OCTOBER 29: Former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand #52 prepares to lead the Rutgers Scarlet Knights onto the field before a game against West Virginia Mountaineers at High Point Solutions Stadium on October 29, 2011 in New Brunswick, New Jersey. LeGrand was paralyzed during a kickoff return in October 2010. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Eric LeGrand was asked to write a guest column in Peter King's stead for Sports Illustrated this week, and the resulting column is certainly worth a read. A few excerpts on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are obviously worth everyone's time:
Playing for Coach Schiano at Rutgers was never an easy thing. Coach loves to work his players and turn them into men -- men who will support their families and be leaders in this world. Everything we did at Rutgers had to be done the hard way, because Coach believed that's how you learn best.
People ask me all the time how I think Coach Schiano will do in Tampa Bay. I tell everybody the same thing: He will be just fine down there, he's a very strong-willed person, and he will get everybody in that organization to do it the way he thinks is right. Coach Schiano really believes in the saying "Where there is a will, there is a way," and he will pour his heart out into somebody to guide them in the right direction.
I took a trip down to Tampa last month to visit Coach and meet my new teammates. I felt just like home being down there and seeing how everything was operating, like being at Rutgers all over again. As I met everyone on the team, they told me that Coach is a great guy who does not play around, and I told them that I knew that for a fact based on my experience playing for him. They strongly believe in him and what he brings to the table, as do I. We have a very young team, but also a very talented one, and we are ready to take on any obstacles this season has to bring.
We all know about Greg Schiano's style, and it requires players to buy in to what he's selling. If you have a team full of players willing to do so, then you can go a long way. If you don't, then things can fall apart quickly. The Bucs are still in the process of collecting the right kinds of players for Schiano's style, but stories like this will certainly help players to buy in.