Tampa Bay rookie tight end Antony Auclair was one of the most sought after undrafted free agents by Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht. In fact, the Bucs had a draftable grade on Auclair and were thrilled when he signed with the team because they wanted another “F” tight end – a tight end that could block and catch as opposed to a “Y” tight end like Cameron Brate, who is primarily a receiving tight end. Dirk Koetter’s offense features two- and three-tight end sets quite often, and with veteran Luke Stocker, who is 29, entering his seventh season in the league, finding two tight ends that could block was crucial for the future of the position, which is why Auclair, who is very physical blocker, was signed even though the Bucs spent a first-round pick on tight end O.J. Howard.
Auclair, who has a thick French-Canadian accent, isn’t your typical tight end. He hails from Notre-Dame-des-Pins in Québec, Canada where he played at Laval Université where he caught 17 passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Auclair had six catches for 70 yards and a touchdown in Laval’s 31-26 win over Calgary in the Vanier Cup, which is the equivalent of the National Championship Game in American college football. While he was ranked as the second overall pick in the Canadian Football League, Auclair always had his sights set on playing in the National Football League.
The Bucs were one of many teams to travel to Canada for his pro day after he opened a lot of eyes at the East-West Shrine Game in St. Petersburg, Fla. in mid-January. Despite a hamstring injury, Auclair ran a 4.82 in the 40-yard dash and bench pressed 225 pounds 22 times. Now that he’s in Tampa, Auclair has the challenge of quickly learning the game of American football and fighting for a roster spot with Alan Cross and Tevin Westbrook behind Brate, Howard and Stocker on the depth chart. Follow Auclair’s journey into NFL football in Tampa Bay in his Training Camp Diary exclusively on PewterReport.com – and learn to speak French-Canadian, too.
I’LL SHARE AN EMBARRASSING MOMENT WITH YOU By Antony Auclair as told to Scott Reynolds
It’s really cool to have my father and my uncle here to see me. The support and all that from my family, I really appreciate that. We have today (Tuesday) off so I’ll be spending some time with them. We can go grab some lunch and eat together. It will be good to see them. For my day off I’m going to relax and get in the ice tub. Then I’m going to chill a little bit with my uncle and my dad.
I feel like my country is behind me. A lot of people in Canada are rooting for me, especially Québec, which is my Provence. A lot of guys have reached out to me and I appreciate that.
Bucs TE Antony Auclair, his father and uncle – Photo by: Scott Reynolds/PR
I really liked the weather (Monday) – rainy without the heat. I feel more comfortable. We’ve been lucky so far with the weather. It was hot the first few days, but now it is okay.
Monday was the first day in full pads and I think my run blocking went really well. I did some good things and had good pad level and good feet. I had some good blocks on Noah Spence and Davonte Lambert in the running game. Spence is hard to block, and different than Lambert. They are two different people and two different players.
Spence is going to put his hands on you real quick and you have to move and get your feet under you. He is real different and so quick. You have to be faster with Noah and stronger with Lambert.
We did one-on-one pass pro drills today, too, and my pass pro went bad a little bit in the first rep. But in the team period – 11-on-11, it went well. I think the one-on-one drill is made for them – the linebackers. You have to concentrate on your footwork and place yourself correctly so you can block them. I feel like in one rep I was able to get off a little bit. I got a good rep the first rep. I think I had two good reps, but you have got to get out of there fast. Overall, I think I had a good day, especially on those run blocks.
But I struggled a little bit catching the wet ball. It’s hard. It’s pretty hard for everybody. A lot of us had drops. You really have to concentrate on the ball and focus more than ever to catch the ball. Sometimes you even have to body-catch the ball. I usually wear gloves, but in this weather gloves really aren’t going to change anything or help. So you’ve got to take off those gloves and try to catch the ball with your body.
Bucs TE Antony Auclair – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
My roommate is rookie quarterback Sefo Liufau. To room with a quarterback is an edge for me. It helps that I’m rooming with Sefo. Any questions I have about the playbook, it is always good to go over it with a quarterback. I’ve got to connect with him sometimes in practice, so it definitely helps to room with him.
Sefo is a good friend of mine. We have worked together with the playbook and other stuff since we got here. It helps me a lot. He is a quarterback and has to know a lot of stuff. I have to know a lot of stuff too, but not as much as him. As roommates, we’re both guys that go to bed early and wake up early so we can work hard, so it is a good fit.
I’ll be honest with you. I was anxious of the Hard Knocks cameras little bit at first, and I was mic’d up the first practice of rookie camp. But now I don’t see them anymore. It is as if they are not there. I’ll share an embarrassing moment with you. I was mic’d up the first day [of rookie camp] and it was really hard because we had no breaks because we are rookies.
I had all reps. O.J. Howard had all reps and it was really hot. So, I came out of the huddle with the mic on and I puked. I puked on myself and I didn’t want to show anybody in case there were cameras on me, so I tried to play it cool. But Kendell Beckwith came up to me and told me after practice “Hey, you left some oatmeal on the field, bro.” So that was really funny.
Auclair’s French-Canadian Word Of The Day
I’m also going to teach you some French-Canadian in my Bucs Training Camp Diary on PewterReport.com. Here’s today’s phrase – Ça va bien. It’s a French way of saying, “Are you okay?” or “Everything is well.” Ça va? means “How are you?”
Follow Bucs rookie tight end Antony Auclair on Twitter at @auclair81
The next Auclair Bucs Training Camp Diary will be posted in a few days. Be sure to visit PewterReport.com multiple times throughout the day during training camp for new stories and updates from practice live from One Buccaneer Place, and follow us on Twitter at @PewterReport.
Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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