Players acknowledge Spurrier's accomplishmentsBy Ira Kaufman | Tribune Staff Published: October 14, 2015TAMPA — Steve Spurrier’s abrupt resignation took D.J. Swearinger by surprise.The Bucs safety played four seasons at South Carolina for Spurrier, who announced his resignation in midseason Tuesday after 11 years with the Gamecocks.“I wanted him to say this was going to be his last game, because this is our bye week and I would have gone to see it,’’ Swearinger said Wednesday of South Carolina’s home game against Vanderbilt on Saturday.“Coach did what he had to do, but I knew he wanted to go out a better way. South Carolina was used to losing before he got there and Coach Spurrier changed the culture. I wish him all the best. He did a lot for me. He taught me a lot and got us ready for the NFL. As a player, he always gave it to you straight.’’Bucs rookie QB Jameis Winston met Spurrier only once, but was well aware of his legacy.“I’ve got so much respect for Coach Spurrier,’’ Winston said. “Let’s start with his accolades on the field — a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida. Then, he coached a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback (Danny Wuerffel), not even mentioning he’s the winningest coach at both Florida and at South Carolina.“How do you know this, Jameis? I like Steve Spurrier. I love football, and he’s a legend.’’Sorting it outHead coach Lovie Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier were each disappointed by the play of the secondary Sunday against Jacksonville.Despite registering six sacks against Blake Bortles, Tampa Bay allowed the second-year quarterback to throw for 303 yards and four touchdowns. CB Tim Jennings had a particularly tough afternoon as the Jaguars sent a flurry of passes in his direction.“We’re trying to get the right combination back there,’’ Frazier said, “and we’ve been doing a little tinkering. There were some things Tim can definitely do better. It seems like they wanted to come his way a little bit, and usually he responds with some batted balls or even interceptions.“But he’ll bounce back. He’s a veteran guy who has been through the wars before.’’Isn’t that special?Bobby Rainey’s emergence as a dangerous punt returner was recognized Wednesday when the Tampa Bay running back was named the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week. Rainey brought back three punts for 85 yards against the Jaguars, including a 58-yard return that marked the longest by a Buc since 2009.“I get a rush out of it,’’ said Rainey, who has carried only three times this season while backing up Doug Martin and Charles Sims. “Anytime there’s a challenge, I want to be a part of it.’’Rainey added a second punt return of 25 yards Sunday and his 199 punt return yards for the season are the second-most in the NFL behind Cleveland’s Travis Benjamin (216). Rainey also leads the NFL in combined punt and kick return yards with 438.“Special teams win games for you,’’ Winston said. ”When you’re able to flip the field with a return, that’s great.’’Extra pointsBucs players won’t practice again until Tuesday, when the club prepares for an Oct. 25 matchup at Washington. ...Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter expects C Evan Smith to reclaim his starting position from Joe Hawley when Smith recovers fully from an ankle injury that sidelined him the past three games. ...With WR Mike Evans (13-174) still seeking his first touchdown catch of the season, Winston labeled the second-year receiver “our secret weapon’’ heading into the final 11 games.
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