Matt Rhule is the latest desired college candidate to make the leap to the NFL, and as he finds his footing in his new world, he's leaning on a grizzled veteran for direction.
Tom Coughlin is advising Rhule as he transitions into his new role as head coach of the Carolina Panthers, NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported.
Rhule has an established relationship with Coughlin, having worked under him for one season in New York with the Giants. He said during his appearance on this week's RapSheet and Friends Podcast he gained a whole lot from watching how Coughlin interacted with key members of his roster.
"Yeah, I think I took a lot," Rhule said. "I think what was really key is that year was right before I was head coach. And so as I went to be head coach at Temple, I tried to apply all the things that I had learned from Tom. I thought coach Coughlin was amazing at his ability to get his message across to the entire team by visiting with one guy at a time. We had some personalities, some great players on that team -- [Jason Pierre-Paul], Justin Tuck, Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw. I thought Tom did a great job of going to those guys and understanding that they were probably influencers on the team and making sure the message was getting out there.
"As I went back to college, I didn't really go back just purely as a college coach, I went back there sort of with this NFL mindset. I've tried to grow it and develop it each year. So as I come back now to the NFL, I'm certainly coming from college, but I think my way of doing things is very much in line with being an NFL head coach."
Rhule has been preparing for this opportunity, but he could still use some advice. That's why he's turning to Coughlin, who was recently fired from his executive position with the Jaguars after players spoke out against financial punishments they deemed unfair in a lost season. Rhule might have sideline and locker room experience, but he still has to assemble an NFL staff in a league in which he's only worked one year.
Coughlin's experience is extensive, if not antiquated, and he can provide plenty of direction on the many decisions Rhule will have to make while assembling a staff in a process that will likely feel like a whirlwind to the 44-year-old coach. If Coughlin has an influence on Rhule's staff, we should expect plenty of former Giants coaches (and perhaps players) to fill Rhule's staff.
We'll have to wait to find out about his scheduling and punctuality standards later.