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December 20, 2012 @ 4:35 pm
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Bucs Receivers Will Value Fleck's Lessons

Written by Victoria
Victoria Horchak 


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The Tampa Bay players and coaching staff will all miss what receivers coach P.J. Fleck has brought to the team this season, but Fleck's receivers will always remember what they've learned from the new Western Michigan head coach.
When you have quality assistant coaches, you tend not to have them very long, as Bucs' coach Greg Schiano found out earlier this week.

Buccaneers wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck will be leaving the team after their season is over as he was recently named the new head football coach at Western Michigan. Fleck’s departure, however, really should not come as a surprise because he is known for his energy and confidence on the field, and because of those attributes, Fleck was bound to move up through the coaching ranks.

Before joining Tampa Bay's staff, Fleck was also coaching under Schiano at Rutgers. The two are more than just head coach and assistant coach to each other but good friends as well. Schiano knew there was a possibility he would be losing his wide receivers coach because he knew what Fleck aspired to be one day – a head coach.   

“He is a good coach,” Schiano said. “When you hire good coaches you [know] that’s part and parcel with that, especially if they have aspirations to be a head coach, and I knew from the day I interviewed P.J. back when that that’s what his ultimate goal was. I’m happy for him. He’s an assistant coach for me but he was a friend as well and a guy that I’m very happy for. He’s continuing to do his responsibilities here and (Ben) McDaniels is picking up some of the load...but together, we’re not going to miss a beat. That’s what staffs do, they kind of pick up the slack and get it done but he’ll be here through the end of the season and then he’ll be full time up there.”

According to Schiano, the transition of losing Fleck has been smooth for the team. Offensive assistant Ben McDaniels has stepped up and is filling in where needed. The players are happy for their coach and yet at the same time know they still have their job to take care of.   

“I know they’re very happy for him, they’re very close those guys,” Schiano said. “They’re very, very happy for him, but this is professional football. These things happen and they’re professionals and they know they have a job to do and it’s been business as usual. And Ben’s been in the room with them the entire year, so it’s not like, oh here comes a stranger out of nowhere. So he’s filling in where needed and it’s very smooth.”

For wide receiver Mike Williams, he will continue to use what his position coach has taught him. One of the most important ways Fleck helped Williams this year was teaching him how to keep his head in the game.

“All the techniques,” Williams said. “Him with the techniques, him not letting me get down on myself, him letting me know that I’m still a good player. [He’s] keeping my head in the game, really. But all of his techniques I’m still going to use. I’m going to still do what he said.”

Fleck’s players that he coached, even for just one year, have confidence in his ability to step up and become a head coach. 

“I think he’s going to be great,” Williams said. “I just want to see how his whole team [will be] coached. I just want to see their first day of practice, how everything goes.”

Former Rutgers receiver Tiquan Underwood also reiterated what Williams said in that he helped him develop his techniques as a receiver. Underwood believes the Western Michigan players are fortunate to have such a great coach.

“As a coach he brings a lot of energy to the program,” Underwood said. “[He] is a great guy and [for] me personally he has helped me develop my game as a wide receiver. A lot of technical things that I needed to iron out and fix he has helped me with that. The guys at Western Michigan are lucky to have him.”

Underwood believes that Fleck will do great as a head coach. Fleck may be presented with different challenges that being a head coach brings, but Underwood believes he is capable of it.

“He has that trait and I think he is going to do well as a head man," Underwood said. "It is going to be different for him obviously with his always being a receivers coach, but now he gets a chance to run the show himself. I think he will do fine.”

Schiano, who has known Fleck for several years, also agrees with what his players have said about Fleck and his ability to be a leader.  It is the energy and confidence that Fleck has which will make him a great head coach.

“He has very strong beliefs and he’s very sure of himself,” Schiano said. “That’s the deal. At one point I was the youngest head coach in the country and I remember that was all, blah, blah, blah. But you just do what you do. You don’t really have experience, so you just do what you think is right and if it’s wrong you fix it and keep moving. But the one thing he has is great energy, he’s got great focus on what he wants to do and he has very strong beliefs and when you have that, 80-percent of leadership is knowing where you’re going.”

The team is not allowing anything to distract them from their job to play each game as a one-season game as coach has said all year. Underwood knows his position coach will be splitting time between the two, but he believes that Fleck will do a great job of providing balance.  

“Every game is the same for us,” Underwood said. “You go out there [and] you lay it on the line. Hopefully we go out there and execute well and that turns into wins. Right now we are focused on the next two games. I know he is trying to split time between the two. He will do a good job of balancing that.” 
Last modified on Thursday, 20 December 2012 22:56

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  • avatar

    Thank you pittbullbuc and Horse.
  • avatar

    Good interview. You can sense that the receivers are even more focused.
  • avatar

    Good for you Victoria H., you got two players who show what a good coach can teach and inspire while only being here one season. I feel coach S will continue to hire worthwhile subordinate coaches. JMHO. Great article!!
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