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January 8, 2014 @ 9:37 am
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Report: Sparano Set To Join Bucs As Offensive Line Coach

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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New Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith is wasting no time in putting together an experienced coach staff with the Bucs, and according to a report, Tony Sparano is set to join Smith as the Bucs offensive line coach.
Hoping to upgrade a unit that underperformed and disappointed in 2013, new Bucs head coach Lovie Smith has reportedly hired former Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano to coach Tampa Bay’s offensive line.

Sparano was the Raiders offensive line and assistant head coach last season, and while Dennis Allen will be back as Oakland’s head coach next season, assistant coaches were only offered one-year contracts extensions, and according to Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle, Sparano balked at the offer and instead decided to join Smith’s staff in Tampa.

Prior to joining the Raiders in 2013, Sparano was the offensive coordinator for the Jets for one season and before that, spent four seasons as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. In his first season in Miami, Sparano led the Dolphins to an 11–5 record and the AFC East division title. The 10-win turnaround tied an NFL record and Sparano finished one vote behind first-year head Atlanta’s Mike Smith for the AP Coach of the Year.

If the report is accurate Sparano joins former Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier (defensive coordinator), Hardy Nickerson (linebackers) and Jeff Tedford (offensive coordinator) as the three confirmed assistant coaches.

Smith was hired just three days after the firing of Greg Schiano giving the franchise a jump on the Browns, Vikings, Titans, Redskins and Lions who are still in the process of hiring their new head coaches. The ability to hire Smith early is giving the former Bears head coach a long list of assistant coaches to interview and choose from.

Alex Marvez first reported that the Bucs hired Joe Cullen to serve as the team’s defensive line coach. Cullen coached Cleveland’s defensive line last year after spending three years (2009-12) in Jacksonville serving in the same capacity. Cullen served as the Detroit Lions defensive line coach from 2006-08 under Rod Marinelli, Smith’s close friend.

Jeff Rapp of SportsRappUp.com, which covers Ohio State football, reported that Tim Spencer would be reuniting with Smith in Tampa Bay as the Buccaneers’ running backs coach. Spencer, a Buckeyes alum, and Smith coached together at Ohio State in 1995, and Spencer served on Smith’s staff as the running backs coach from 2004-12. Spencer was able to produce 1,000-yard seasons from Thomas Jones (2005-06) and Matt Forte (2008, 2010, 2012) in Chicago, but did not have much success in coaching Cedric Benson, the Bears’ first-round pick in 2005, to greatness. Benson didn’t rush for more than 674 yards in three seasons in Chicago.

On Tuesday Footballscoop.com reported that Andrew Hayes-Stoker would join Smith to coach the Bucs' receivers. Hayes-Stoker was an assistant wide receivers coach with the Bears under Smith in Chicago from 2010-12. Hayes-Stoker, played running back for TCU behind LaDainian Tomlinson. 

A report by Marvez said that Smith would add Mississippi State offensive coordinator Marcus Arroyo who coached Cal's quarterbacks under Tedford for two seasons. Arroyo, along with Tedford, would be in charge of determining if Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon is the future.

Kevin O’Dea, whom Smith knew from his days of coaching in Tampa as an offensive and defensive assistant from 1996-2001, is thought to be Smith’s first choice to head up special teams in Tampa Bay. O’Dea is currently in Kansas City where he has served as the Chiefs special teams coach. The 53-year old O’Dea has worked for Smith in Chicago during two stints as an assistant special teams coach from 2006-07, and also from 2011-12.

– Scott Reynolds contributed to this report

Last modified on Thursday, 06 March 2014 11:05

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  • avatar

    PR: Is Sparano staying with the Raiders or is he coming to Tampa?
  • avatar

    Premature reporting.
  • avatar

    Sparano knows OL and should be able to rebuild our OL after he studies our film from this season. While Tedford does not have NFL experience, Sparano certainly does and can help his boss with any problems Tedford is not familiar with from just college experience. I think for Special Teams, Wannstadt did an outstanding job, and Lovie should bring him back. The one thing I see that is common in the Coaches Lovie is picking, is that they are Coaches that the players will like and look up to. Sparano will be sorely missed by the OL and fans with the Raiders. Wannstadt was also well liked here with the players, too. Lovie also should look at Butch Davis for one of his Defensive Assistants positions. I believe bringing in Hardy to coach the LBs was an equally brilliant move by Lovie. I think another great choice would be Quinn who used to be the Gator DC. He was loved by his players there and was very hard working and successful and has plenty of NFL Experience. Each off season after watching a lot of film from the past season he would meet with every defensive player at Florida privately and give them a video of their play that needed to be improved upon. He inspired every defensive player to improve. their game.
  • avatar

    I love the hiring of these new coaches. Some outsiders may call us "Chicago Bears south", but I'm just fine with that. I certainly hope that Lovie gives Tedford FULL reign to handle the offense the way Tedford sees fit. If that happens, & we get good players at DE, WR, TE, DB, & another O-lineman, this team has a chance to be really good.
  • avatar

    He will be a great line coach and knows talent. Good choice. Penn, you better be in real shape this year! It's time for you to earn those millions. We have to find a center and let Zuttah go back as a guard.
  • avatar

    If Parcells wanted this guy he has to be good. I think Parcells is a great judge of talent. Looks like night and day from the guys Schiano brought to town.
  • avatar

    I like Sparano as our O-line coach. That's how he cut his teeth was as the O-line coach for the Cowboys before he got to be the HC for the Dolphins (both he and Parcells had come over from the Cowboys). Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    A lot of good, experienced coaches that can make half time adjustments!
  • avatar

    Loving how the staff is shaping up. A lot of experience, especially on the head coaching side which should be a great benefit for the players. Plus, each of the assistant coaches has something to prove so I expect them to bring it every day. Tampaaaa.........
  • avatar

    I'm assuming you mean Arroyo was hired as quarterbacks coach?
  • avatar

    Lots of head coaching experience heading Tampa's way!
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