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.
WE FINED CAM FOR DOING HOT YOGA
By Antony Auclair as told to Scott Reynolds
As you might have seen on Hard Knocks last night (Tuesday), I wanted to give a shout out to Québec and Canada, so I sang the Canadian National Anthem in French when the rookies had to sing for the veterans. I sang it in French, so only I would have known if I messed up the words, but I killed it! Everybody stood up and showed respect. I really appreciated that from my teammates. They liked it. At first I thought they were going to boo me for singing the Canadian National Anthem, but then I realized you can’t boo a [expletive] national anthem! I just wanted them to know my national anthem. It was cool.
Bucs WR Adam Humphries, TE Cam Brate (grey shorts) and QB Ryan Griffin – 10News
I watched Hard Knocks last night. We all did. It was all right, but sometimes I feel like they only show the bad stuff – the mistakes. J-Mac (rookie running back Jeremy McNichols) is having a nice camp right now. He does some nice things out here, but they made him look stupid a little bit with how they edited it. That’s bad for him and I think they will do it for other players as it goes on. It’s just a show, though.
One thing that was funny on Hard Knocks was Cam Brate doing some hot yoga. We fined Cam for doing hot yoga (laughs)! We fined him for it in the tight ends room.
[Linebacker] Riley [Bullough] was on Hard Knocks a lot. He’s really good. He is a good leader out there. He is really vocal. He really is a good player and comes from a football family.
He’s playing well on special teams, and so am I. Right now I’m on kickoff return, I’m on punt, punt return, and field goals as well. I’m on all special teams except kickoff and I’ve got to play well there. I know that.
At Laval I played a lot of special teams. Our coach wanted [the starters] to play on special teams. I was playing on punt return. I was a big punt return guy, blocking guys at the line and running with them. I played on kickoff return and field goal as well. I didn’t get any tackles because I wasn’t on the kickoff or punt coverage team. I’m doing that here though, so we’ll see if I can get a tackle.
I’m getting comfortable in this offense, but every day is new stuff. We install new things. Every day is another adjustment. I’m getting comfortable with other plays that we installed in earlier days.
Bucs TE Antony Auclair – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Today was a good day for me. I had a nice catch in the end zone where I got hit again. I had some nice blocks, too. Every day there is something where I’m like, “Man, I [expletive] that up.” Today I couldn’t think of anything that I [expletive] up, so that’s good! I may have blocked the wrong guy on a run play, but I don’t know yet. We will see on tape.
I think I did a better job on the 1-on-1 blitz pickups today. I have enhanced my talent in terms of technique on that. I worked out after practice with Cam and O.J. [Howard] on that. That is why I’m getting better. I use the term ‘enhanced my talent’ because that’s what Jon Gruden said in his speech to us and it really stuck with me.
We travel to play the Bengals on Friday. It’s crazy. It’s crazy to think about it – all the excitement I’m feeling about my first NFL game. I’ve played in front of like 24,000 people max. Now it will be much higher than that. I’m really excited for that. I’m excited to play on this level and this speed of the game. I haven’t really thought about it yet because I try to focus on the present day. I know the night before I’m going to be really excited.”
I just hope that Cincinnati is not this hot. It’s going to be better weather, I think. At least I hope!
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 word – Victoire. It’s a French way of saying, “Victory.” I hope we get that Friday night in Cincinnati.
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: email@example.com
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