The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have shuffled up their coaching staff this offseason. Special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia picked up two additional titles as the team’s associate head coach and the new running backs coach, replacing Art Valero. Former St. Louis offensive coordinator Greg Olsen replaced Paul Hackett as the Bucs quarterbacks coach. George Yarno replaced Aaron Kromer as Tampa Bay’s assistant offensive line coach.
All of those coaching moves had been previously reported on PewterReport.com, but the media found out that another coaching move has been made this offseason. After watching defensive line coach Larry Coyer spend the Bucs’ first round of OTAs (organized team activities) watching defensive backs and the rookie mini-camp watching wide receivers, PewterReport.com discovered that he had been replaced by Todd Wash, Coyer’s assistant last year, as the coach of the D-line.
“It seems so right now, yes he has,” Coyer said. “We just arranged things around and I’m working in a little different capacity. The first thing I’m doing is getting my hip right. The second thing I’m trying to do is learn a little more about our offense so I can help in a more well-rounded situation.
“I think it will be permanent. This is a situation that Coach Gruden wanted to have happen a year ago. I think it’s a situation that’s a win-win for everybody. Wash will do a hell of a job. I worked with him last year and he’s good. I get the chance to work on both sides of the football that is good for me. It’s a positive thing. It’s exciting for me. I get to get a feel for both sides.”
When Coyer was hired last year after he was fired as Denver’s defensive coordinator, he was given the dual role of defensive line coach as well assistant head coach. With the Bucs feeling comfortable about Wash’s progress last year, Gruden decided to emphasize Coyer’s assistant head coach title in 2008.
“He’s the assistant head coach, and to be honest with you, he’ll be involved in the defensive line, he’ll be involved in the offensive line and me in particular,” Gruden said. “That was something that we are very excited about. I want to have Larry Coyer more involved in our football team. He still will have responsibilities around the defensive line and the linebackers. I want to use him on offense as well. His background and expertise can help us. I think it’s a great appointment for a heck of a football coach.
“It’s a very creative role, I think, and it’s a demanding role really for a guy that has done what he’s done in this business. I think he can be a good resource for Bill Muir and this offensive staff and keep his fingers on the defense as well. We’re excited about the role he’s in and I know it’s going to pay big dividends for us.”
Coyer, who is in his late 60s and has 44 years of football coaching experience, has enjoyed his role of evaluating the team’s offensive and defensive players thus far this offseason.
“There are a couple of things to realize. Defense and offense always work together,” Coyer said. “You have to use your head. If you put [a play] in, you want to know how they are going to go after you. I’ve been used to doing that. The big deal is the terminology, getting the terminology. Fortunately, it’s pretty similar to Denver’s.”
Kiffin has all the confidence in Wash’s ability to do the job, and believes the entire team will benefit from Coyer’s presence on both sides of the ball.
“Todd is a young guy who has been here for a year, and when you say young, Todd is 38 or 39 years old,” Kiffin said. “He’s been a defensive coordinator in college and he’s coached defensive line for a long time. Jon is going to use Larry on both sides of the ball now as a consultant-type deal. Larry brings a lot to the table because he’s been around a lot and did a really good job for us last year. He’s a heck of a football coach. Todd is going to take over defensive line and we expect him to do a great job. He’s already been working with them for over a year.”
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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