Getting to Know Greg Roman
April 1, 2009
STANFORD, Calif. - Greg Roman joined the Stanford coaching staff on January 27 after spending the past 13 seasons coaching in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, and Carolina Panthers. He will work with the tight ends and offensive tackles and also serve as the team's running game coordinator in 2009.
Stanford represents the first collegiate coaching assignment for the 36-year old native of Ventnor, N.J.. He most recently served as the assistant offensive line coach of the Baltimore Ravens from 2006-07 and also spent four seasons on the coaching staff of the Houston Texans, where he served as the tight ends (2002-03) and quarterbacks coach (2004-05). Roman began his coaching career with the Carolina Panthers, where he served as a defensive and offensive assistant coach from 1995-01.
'Coach Roman is a phenomenal teacher, said head coach Jim Harbaugh. 'The players are really responding to his coaching and teaching. He has brought some fresh ideas. Most importantly, the improvement for Stanford Football has been seen in how his players have improved and responded. He's aces.'
During his stay in Baltimore, the Ravens captured the 2006 AFC North Division title with a regular season mark of 13-3. As assistant offensive line coach, he helped the Ravens improve to 17th in the NFL in total offense and second in fewest sacks allowed with 17, setting a franchise record. Baltimore also set team records for completion percentage (62.6%), third down conversions (96), fourth-down percentage (72.7%) and fewest turnovers (23). The offensive line also helped quarterback Steve McNair set a team record for pass completion percentage (63.0%) and most passes without an interception (162). In addition, left tackle Jonathan Ogden was voted to his 10th-straight Pro Bowl.
Prior to joining the staff in Baltimore, Roman enjoyed a four-year coaching stint with the Houston Texans, serving as the team's tight ends (2002-03) and quarterbacks coach (2004-05). As tight ends coach, Roman tutored Billy Miller, who led the Texans with 91 receptions over two seasons. He also guided former 2002 NFL first round draft pick David Carr, who had his best season under Roman in 2004 when he passed for 3,531 yards and earned an 83.1 quarterback rating.
Roman launched his coaching career with the Carolina Panthers in 1995, the team's inaugural season in the NFL, when he was named the strength and conditioning assistant/defensive quality control coach, while also working with the defensive backs and the linebackers on the defensive side. In 1996, the Panthers set a NFL record for most wins by an expansion team, as Carolina won the NFC West crown and advanced to the NFC Championship game. He moved to the offensive side of the ball as Carolina's offensive quality control coach for two seasons (1997-98) before assuming the role of offensive assistant for the 1999 and 2000 campaigns. As the team's offensive assistant, he worked with both the run-and-pass game strategy and implementation, helping the Panthers finish second in NFL in passing offense and fifth in yards per rush. Roman worked as the team's assistant offensive line coach in his final season with the Panthers in 2001.
A three-year letterwinner and two-year starting defensive lineman at John Carroll University from 1990-93, Roman earned All-Ohio conference honorable mention status following his senior season in which he recorded 80 tackles and six sacks. He also helped lead a defense that allowed a league-low 98 points in 10 games and enabled the Blue Streaks to capture a share of the OAC championship. Roman finished his collegiate career with 145 tackles, 20.0 tackles-for-loss and 9.5 sacks.
During his junior year at John Carroll, Roman participated in Project H.O.P.E. (Helping Others Through Physical Education) which aids the developmentally disabled in northeast Ohio.
Recently gostanford.com had a chance to catch up with Greg and talk about his new duties, his coaching background and his New Jersey roots.
You wear many hats as running game coordinator, tight ends coach while also working with the offensive tackles. How are you able to balance all of your new duties?
I have been very fortunate to have learned from a lot of great coaches over the years, and have worn many different hats coaching in the NFL. I have coached just about every position on offense, and started out my career coaching on the defensive side. Multi-tasking is nothing new to me; as a matter of fact I am used to it and love it. The strength of the coaching staff here is a great resource, as we have put in a lot of time together since late January. I would say we all coordinate the run game, because everyone on the staff has a unique and varied background in rushing the football. So we have a pretty diverse profile and hope to continue to build on that. The players themselves have been very adaptable and eager to master what we are doing, which is key. It's not what we know, it's what they can improve and apply.
(b>What are some of the responsibilities of a running game coordinator as opposed to a running backs coach?
As the run game coordinator you bring all the ideas and measure them with your strengths and weaknesses versus your opponent's strengths and weaknesses. So while we are practicing a `Ready-List' of concepts and plays, which ones you use and how you use them on a weekly basis during the season will change to a certain extent. In a way you act as a filter of everyone's observations and ideas to help solidify a game plan and build a consensus.
What was your attraction to Stanford?
A lot of different things, but first and foremost Coach Jim Harbaugh. I believe in Jim and what he is working to do day in and day out. Jim has a lot of unique skills and is ultimately someone I want to work for and support. He and many others have rolled up their sleeves and starting putting one brick on top of another to bring this program from where it was to what we all hope we can become. I respect that and think about it every day as I come into work. I have visited Stanford several times to evaluate prospective NFL players and would always look forward to visiting the campus itself. It is a unique and storied environment. I worked with several coaches who spent time coaching at Stanford such as George Seifert and Brian Billick. Their memories of coaching at Stanford were eerily similar and both very positive.
Impressions on the direction of the Stanford program?
I think the standard set here by Coach Harbaugh is clear. The direction is UP. Great prospects should want to come and be a part of Stanford, and see how it will change their life for the next 50 years. Whether it is simply the experience of going to school here with all the world renowned teachers, the Stanford degree and the tangible value of that, the great teammates they will call friends for a lifetime or getting prepared for an NFL career, it's really a no-brainer.
How has your NFL coaching experience prepared you for your new position at Stanford?
In a lot of ways. When I first began, I looked at it as getting my PHD in football, because I could learn from the best and get on the job training in every aspect of football coaching. I have been really fortunate to have collaborated with a lot of coaches I consider the best in the world. While you do not have the time with the players that you do in the NFL, the team can absorb a good amount of information and bank it with less time, so you can build a pretty comprehensive system since our Stanford players can learn efficiently. Coach Harbaugh's offense is very comparable with NFL offenses since our players work so hard to learn the schemes.
Thoughts on coaching on the collegiate level for the first time in your career?
I was asking some of the players the other day for their perspective on the recruiting process. I constantly bother the other coaches about recruiting tips and how to be an effective recruiter. So recruiting is the adjustment for me, but I feel I will be effective. Football is football. Take 22 pieces and move them around and you can create a lot of different scenarios for which to prepare. The thing that sets the great coaches I have been around apart is something a little different than simply X's and O's.
Who were some of your mentors as you have progressed in the coaching profession?
Dom Capers, George Seifert, Don Breaux, Vic Fangio, Chris Palmer, Brian Billick, George Catavalos, Jim McNally, Paul Boudreau, Tony Wise, Chick Harris, Scott O'Brien, Richard Williamson and Chris Foerster come to mind immediately. Some would be household names and some wouldn't, but they all impacted my understanding of the game. They are all very talented people I have been fortunate to have worked alongside and I have taken one or many things from each one of them along the way.
Stanford seems loaded at the tight end position for the 2009 season. What are your early impressions of the tight end personnel?
Our current tight ends on the roster are Jim Dray, Konrad Reuland and Coby Fleener. They are all unique and talented athletes. The tight end position can be a very diverse one, ranging from line of scrimmage blockers to hybrid receiver-types. So each of our tight ends is unique, and can be deployed to perform tasks specific to or at least featuring their strengths. What has impressed me is that they are working very hard to become the most balanced players they can become. We have some great looking freshmen prospects coming in to our program. It will be competitive. We are looking forward to seeing our experienced players continue to develop and begin to develop our incoming freshmen.
Where do you think your career path would have taken you if you didn't pursue coaching?
That is a great question. I really don't know the answer to that one. I had begun a career with a consulting company when I decided to pursue coaching. I can't answer that one without guessing.
What do you like to do away from football?
When I am not working I spend time with my wife Dana, and sons Connor and Gregory. One of the great things about our staff is everyone's kids. It's always great when the kids get together and have a good time playing. That's about all the entertainment I need.
Jim Dray is from Paramus, New Jersey, Nick Macaluso is from Middletown and you grew up in Ventnor. Are you guys forming a special Jersey bond?
A few words here or there, Jim is always ripe for a Jersey reference. I am looking forward to recruiting more players from that area who want to come to get the best education and best future any school in the BCS can offer. Both players have been working hard this spring, and we have high expectations for them this season.