Bucs TE Antony Auclair - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
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’ve Got One More Game
By Antony Auclair as told to Scott Reynolds
It was a wet game against Cleveland, but I’ve played in the snow in Canada. I’ve played in pretty bad weather. It was a humid with a lot of rain. It wasn’t too bad.
Bucs TE Antony Auclair – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
It was an okay game for me. It was not bad for me, but it’s never as good or as bad as you think. I want to see the tape as fast as I can. I did some good things, but I had some mistakes. It was frustrating for us not to be able to get in the end zone. We’ve had some good drives, but we just have to finish – whether it’s a touchdown or a field goal. But we’ve made too many mistakes and we’ve turned it over too much. We have to protect the ball and finish drives.
We have good receivers on this team and Bernard Reedy played very well. He’s played well all camp – D.D. (Donteea Dye) as well. I thought D.D. had a touchdown for us. I thought it was a catch. They are pretty good receivers and we have a good receiving squad. Obviously without Mike Evans and DeSean we had to play ball with other guys, but they’re good, too.
I’m really excited to play again on Thursday night in the preseason finale. I’ve got one more game. For me it’s up to correct the mistakes I made in the last two games and really progress and get better. It’s a really quick turnaround. I’ve been sore all camp and I’ve been treated in the training room. I’ll need to have a good rest day on Sunday to get ready for Thursday night’s game.
My roommate, Sefo Liufau, will probably play a lot as a backup quarterback. It should be fun. We have a really good connection. We’ve connected a few times in practice. Sefo is getting better and it should be fun to watch him get some more playing time with me.
I play a lot on special teams and to see Bryan Anger have seven punts inside the 20 against Cleveland was ridiculous. He does a really great job. I think we did a good job on coverage. Special teams were definitely there on Saturday night. Nick Folk made all of his kicks and did a good job, too.
Now that camp is over, I expected it to be hard. I think I got better as a player, but I still have to improve. It was taking a bad angle in my blocking again on a play. Those are the kind of details I need to correct in order to get better. Working on those details is where I am going to get better.
Bucs TE Antony Auclair – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
I think the biggest area where I have improved is running routes. I wanted to get better in this area and I think I did. There is still room for me to improve, but I’ve done a good job so far.
Have I done enough yet to make the 53-man roster? That’s a really good question. Right now I don’t know. There’s still one more game to go. I’m still focusing on that right now. I’m not thinking about making the team right now. That will come after Thursday night.
I want to give a shout out to the Bucs fans and PewterReport.com readers for reading my Bucs Training Camp Diary. It’s been fun. I met a few fans at the team hotel and they were very kind to me. I’m thankful for your support and I appreciate it.
Auclair’s French-Canadian Phrase Of The Day
I’m also going to teach you some French-Canadian in my Bucs Training Camp Diary on PewterReport.com. Today’s phrase is “J’espere que je vais ireussir.” It’s a French way of saying, “I hope I’ll make it” in English – as in I hope I make the Buccaneers.
Here are some more common French phrases for you:
Follow Bucs rookie tight end Antony Auclair on Twitter at @auclair81
PewterReport.com would like to thank Bucs rookie tight end Antony Auclair for taking the time to participate in the Bucs Training Camp Diary and wishes him well in Thursday night’s preseason finale against Washington.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys 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 protected]
Thanks for entertaining us Antony! Hope you make the club and become a Bucs fixture for years to come. I really enjoyed reading your experiences. Good Luck on Thursday!
Hope you have a Great Game this Thursday night. Eventually what I want to see this year is you and Howard starting together in a two tight end set. You both could start by chipping the other side’s top DE’s giving our Tackles extra time to set up and stop them and then you and Howard could run patterns at the same time and then Jameis would have the time to throw either deep to Jackson or Evans or whichever you or Howard was most open. That could even work in the Red Zone too. Or you and Howard could block like Tackles and Spring our RB with the help of the rest of the line for a long gain or on third down help Payton power it in for a first down. Keep improving and you and Howard can take our Offense to the playoffs this year. I have a feeling Koetter is too smart to cut you!
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