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July 30, 2012 @ 12:01 pm
Current rating: 4.67 Stars/6 Votes

Former Rutgers Star Underwood: "Coach Schiano Is Coach Schiano"

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


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At the first closed practice of training camp, wide receiver Tiquan Underwood opened up about Coach Schiano and how that knowledge is helping his teammates.
As a senior in 2008, Tiquan Underwood was named a team captain for the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. After the season ended, he was the recipient of the Loyal Knight Award, which honors the Rutgers player whose character and dedication have proved resilient in his pursuit of excellence. The former Rutgers star is now utilizing that character and dedication to make the Buccaneers 53-man roster, resilient in his pursuit of excellence.
In the first four days of training camp, Underwood has been impressive to most. Underwood has caught nearly every pass, ran clean, crisp routes, and aside from struggling with shedding blocks from the right side, was a standout in the blocking drills on Sunday.

Underwood had a breakout season as a junior, ending the 2007 campaign first on the team in receptions (65) and second in yards (1100) and touchdowns (seven). His final year, Underwood was second in receptions (40) and third in yards (494) and touchdowns (five) and returned 18 kicks for 337 yards.

Unfortunately for Underwood, running back Ray Rice decided to forego his senior season (2008) for the NFL and head coach Greg Schiano relied on Kenny Brit as the number one receiver, and spread the ball out between the other receivers; in 2008, seven receivers had triple-digit yardage.

Selected by Jacksonville in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, Underwood was waived, re-signed to the Jaguars practice squad, then called up in September 2009. As a rookie, Underwood played three games without registering a catch.

The following year Underwood played in 10 games, recording eight receptions for 111 yards. He was released in August 2011, and signed with New England four days later.

Underwood played in six games and caught three passes for 30 yards. On February 4, the night before Super Bowl XLVI, the Patriots released him. Two days later, he re-signed with New England. After the Patriots signed Jabar Gaffney in May, Underwood was once again released from the team.

Signed by the Bucs in May, Underwood, now on his third team in four years, was a free agent for four days before his former college coach came calling, and he signed with the Buccaneers.

Thought early on to be a fringe player to make the team, Underwood has done everything in camp to try to prove he can be a viable NFL receiver, learning from Vincent Jackson who has emerged as the leader of the receiving corps. Underwood has been able to grow as a receiver from Jackson’s presence.

“[He’s] a constant professional on and off the field. Whenever I need help with something, I can ask him questions and he’s always there to help. He’s done it at a high level for eight years now, so it’s been a great help.”

Being reunited with Schiano is something he feels has made his adjustment to Tampa Bay smoother.

“I know what he expects; just hard workers, guys doing their job, and just trying to do that each and every day” Underwood said.

That knowledge is something Underwood has been passing along to his new teammates.

“They ask me all the time because I played for him, so they just ask me ‘What does he expect?’” Underwood said. “’How was he in college?’ And I just give them insight that will hopefully help them.”

As far as Schiano’s changing from his days at Rutgers, Underwood said there aren’t many differences.

“Coach Schiano is Coach Schiano. He’s very strict, demands perfection. And he just wants guys to do the right thing on and off the field. At the end of the day, it’s all about doing your job. If you do that, and stay out of trouble, you won’t have no problem with Coach.”

It is still early on to etch Underwood’s name on a locker, but penciling it in isn’t a stretch. He is relishing in his third chance and it shows.

“Being in my fourth year, being somewhat of a vet, I just try to take it day by day, don’t worry about anything, and just leave it out on the field each and every day.”

Last modified on Monday, 30 July 2012 13:50

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  • avatar

    The Patriots experienced bad karma when they cut him Superbowl eve. It looks like that might happen if the Bucs cut him also.:)
  • avatar

    If he is doing all he can I think it will make a decision on who are selected.
  • avatar

    You could land a helicopter on that do. From the practices I have watched, Underwood has been one of the bright spots. He has a good shot if they keep six receivers. Probably comes down to Special Teams if they only keep five.
  • avatar

    Underwoods is more known for his haircut instead of his NFL play. Hope he takes advantage of what could be his last chance to make an NFL team.
  • avatar

    Good Article.
  • avatar

    Mean Ole Coach... "Coach Schiano is Coach Schiano. He’s very strict, demands perfection. And he just wants guys to do the right thing on and off the field. At the end of the day, it’s all about doing your job. If you do that, and stay out of trouble, you won’t have no problem with Coach.”
  • avatar

    Thanks for posting, good interview. "...Demands perfection." I like to hear that. - 3sk.
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