MOBILE, AL – Around every corner someone is waiting for Romeo Crennel. With a coaching staff yet to be finalized, Crennel is one of the Senior Bowl’s most popular men.
The days at Ladd-Peebles Stadium have been a little longer for Crennel this year. His privacy is typically respected during the actual practice portion of the day as he sits alongside GM Scott Pioli, comparing notes and discussing the prospects that catch his eye for the right or wrong reasons.
It’s the post-practice routine that’s forcing Crennel to work overtime in Mobile. It’s a sight best described as a receiving line of well wishers and job seekers.
Crennel has been among the final head coaches to exit each Senior Bowl practice throughout the week. On Tuesday, he was still inside the stadium’s bowl more than 30 minutes following both the North and South practice sessions.
“Being in the driver’s seat, you get more people shaking your hand, saying hello and offering congratulations,” Crennel said of the differences in being a head coach versus a coordinator during Senior Bowl Week.
“So all of that is nice and good, but then you also have this tag on your bag that lets you go on the field if you want to. That’s a little added incentive right there and is nice.”
Not only does the tag grant the perk of on-field access, but it can act as a form of reprieve as well. Some head coaches have been known avoid the off-field hoopla of Senior Bowl Week as best they can, but Crennel has made himself available to most everyone who has approached him thus far.
Of course, between practice sessions Crennel is conducting interviews of his own. These are held in a much more private, less-public setting.
“This is a great venue for that because there are so many coaches here and, unfortunately, many of them are out of jobs,” Crennel said. “So those are some of the ones that we can talk to. But you do that and it gives you an opportunity to do a good, thorough job of trying to finding the best guy that will fit the situation that we’re in.”
In his introductory press conference on January 9th, Crennel said that he’d be evaluating the coaching staff on both sides of the football. Since then, he’s said that he’ll keep the defensive staff intact and will call the defensive plays himself.
That leaves formation of offensive and special teams titles still on the table. Most notably, the team’s next offensive coordinator.
Crennel says he’s getting closer to defining titles and finalizing his coaching staff for 2012, but isn’t ready to announce any additions or subtractions just yet.
“We’re still in that process and things are going good,” Crennel said after the South practice Tuesday evening. “We will continue to go through this process and when we get it all finalized, then we’ll let everyone know.”
Mobile makes for an interesting environment, not only for Crennel, but for a number of new head coaches. Some of the recent hires have decided to stay away from Mobile altogether and other teams are attempting to operate the week without a head coach in place.
Though it’s been several weeks since Crennel was announced as head coach, the Chiefs are not in the minority when it comes to rounding out a coaching staff. And for that reason, Crennel is among the most popular men in Mobile.
Crennel seemed genuinely pleased about where the process stood Tuesday evening.