Tampa Bay's search for a new running backs coach has ended where it started – at One Buccaneer Place.
Buccaneers special teams coordinator Richard Bisaccia will coach Tampa Bay's running backs, PewterReport.com is reporting.
Art Valero served as Tampa Bay's running backs coach from 2004-07 before leaving the Bucs to become an assistant head coach with the St. Louis Rams last month.
The Buccaneers have spent the last month interviewing several candidates for the vacant position, including Ernest Byner. According to WDAE 620, Tampa Bay also offered the running backs coaching job to fullback Mike Alstott, who retired from the NFL on Jan. 24. Alstott, however, turned down the opportunity in order to spend more time with his family.
Tampa Bay's search for a new running backs coach has ended with Bisaccia, who signed a contract extension with the Buccaneers shortly after the team's 2007 season concluded.
Although he's coached Tampa Bay's special teams for six seasons, Bisaccia is no stranger to the running back position. He served as a running backs coach at South Carolina (1992-93), Clemson (1994-98) and Mississippi (1999-01) before joining head coach Jon Gruden's staff in Tampa Bay in 2002.
It is believed Bisaccia will remain Tampa Bay's special teams coordinator while taking on his new role as the Bucs' running backs coach.
Bisaccia has balanced that type of workload before. In fact, in his stints with South Carolina, Clemson and Mississippi, Bisaccia coached both running backs and special teams. In 2001, Bisaccia even handled those two roles while assuming the title of assistant head coach at Mississippi.
Bucs coaches assistant Dwayne Stukes is expected to continue to help Bisaccia coach Tampa Bay's special teams unit, which was one of the best cover units in the NFL and helped wide receiver Micheal Spurlock become the first player in team history to return a kickoff for a touchdown in a regular season game in 2007.
While Tampa Bay's search for a new running backs coach is over, the running back position remains one of uncertainty in Tampa Bay.
Earnest Graham, who rushed for 898 yards (4.0 avg.) and 10 touchdowns en route to helping the Bucs rank 11th overall in rushing in 2007, is under contract in 2008 and could receive a contract extension this offseason.
However, Bucs running backs Michael Bennett and Michael Pittman both are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents on Feb. 29.
In addition, former first-round draft pick Cadillac Williams' future is up in the air as he attempts to rehabilitate the torn patellar tendon he sustained in Week 4 of the 2007 regular season.
Tampa Bay's coaching staff is nearly complete, but the Bucs still must find a replacement for assistant defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake, who became Detroit's defensive backs coach last month.
In related news, former Bucs senior assistant/offensive line Aaron Kromer, whose contract expired at the end of teh 2007 season, was hired Tuesday to become New Orleans' running backs coach, according to The Times-Picayune.
Kromer was replaced by former Bucs offensive lineman George Yarno, who was hired on Jan. 26.
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