Oregon is in search of a new football coach after firing Mark Helfrich Tuesday evening and Ohio State associate head coach Greg Schiano is a candidate for the position, according to Fox Sports Bruce Feldman.
Schiano, who just completed his first regular season in Columbus as Urban Meyer's co-defensive coordinator, helped shape a young Buckeye secondary into a band of ball hawks as they led the nation with seven interceptions returned for touchdowns this season.
Adding to the speculation, John Canzano, a columnist at The Oregonian, believes program benefactor Phil Knight already has his man and that man may very well be Schiano:
While Oregon and Oregon State were kicking off in a Civil War that would expose the Ducks defense as gentle unit, Knight was in Columbus, 2,064 aerial miles away, giving a victory speech in the Ohio State locker room.
"Of the Top 25 NCAA teams, Nike supplies 20 of them and none of those teams are we more proud of than the one in this dressing room," said Knight. "Congratulations. You were fabulous."
Knight looked joyful and engaged. He was in the presence of a winning program that made him proud. But it was who was in the room, particularly taking a knee to Knight's left, near the smiling Meyer, that caught my attention. That would be Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano. Because regardless of how and why Knight ended up in that locker room, it's Schiano who has emerged as a strong candidate in this search.
At the time, Knight's visit was thought to be that of a statesman, visiting two of the blue bloods Nike outfits. But it very well could have been to further discussions with Schiano.
Urban Meyer generally asks for two-year commitments out of his assistants, but Schiano is no ordinary assistant. He has a proven track record as an FBS head coach at Rutgers, where he led the Scarlet Knights to 68 wins, including an 11-win season in 2006. He also served as an NFL head coach in Tampa Bay for two years. Most importantly, the Schianos and Meyers are very close, having become friends at Nike events.
It's certainly something to keep an eye on.
Other coaches believed to be in the mix for the Oregon job, per Feldman, are UCF's Scott Frost, Florida's Jim McElwain, West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen and Boise State's Bryan Harsin.