Wherever there is college football being played, you can usually find FOX Sports and NFL Network analyst Charles Davis around. Davis is a staple at the East-West Shrine game in St. Petersburg every year and is easily spotted by his ever-present smile, shaking hands with NFL executives, coaches and even the casual fans that gather around him.
PewterReport.com caught up with Davis at the West team practice on Tuesday and the former Tennessee cornerback, turned standout television broadcaster, likes they way things are coming together in Tampa Bay with the hire of Lovie Smith. But if there is someone Davis may even like more than Smith himself, it is new offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford.
“I love Jeff Tedford, I have known him since his first year at Cal when I was calling games at Turner (TBS),” Davis said. “I was just so impressed with him and his demeanor, and obviously his offensive acumen. If you go back to what he had to start with at Cal … he turned Kyle Boller into a first rounder, the run they had with Aaron Rodgers and the rest of it. (Tedford is) just so creative offensively, and even when the run of quarterbacks that ended up pros ended, they still were dangerous as heck offensively. DeSean Jackson flourished in that offense, so I just think he is a terrific mind and will be very hungry after a couple years out of the game, I’m really excited about the possibilities he will bring to Tampa. I am a huge Jeff Tedford.”
Some have questioned how Tedford’s complex college offense would translate in the professional game, but Davis said that shouldn’t be a concern to anyone.
“Nowadays that line between a college offense and a pro offense has really blurred and we are getting really close to the non-existent part,” Davis said. “Because if you watch any games now, how many do you recognize as pro plays and how many plays do you recognize as college plays? I am watching conference championship games and I’m watching jet sweeps, I am watching zone reads, I am watching all kind of quarterbacks moving in one direction and throwing back to the other. That’s a lot of college plays.
“Yeah, that line has kind of blurred a lot. Jeff Tedford has a mind that encompassing all of it and I am looking forward to watching him work and I think that Mike Glennon and the rest of the quarterbacks will benefit with him.”
Davis really like the hire of Smith to replace former coach Greg Schiano and said Smith’s connection to the past will be an asset.
“I think it is great, especially for the young kids coming in to have a leader like Lovie Smith to teach you how to do things the right way,” Davis said. “And for the Buccaneers especially – to have someone who embraces the Buccaneers as part of those teams that were growing towards Super Bowls – and gets it. And that is a big deal, because that respect for the organization and then that real feeling that this is a place that (Smith) wants to be. That’s a big deal.”
Smith, who along with Tedford were fired after their 2012 football seasons, told the media last week that he and Tedford spent a lot of time together last year watching film and already looking ahead to their next stops. Davis said that time off can be a great opportunity for coaches like Smith to evaluate themselves. Davis said Smith – and Tedford – will be better because of it.
“A lot of coaches learn a lot as they go on, and when you are out of the game for a while there is a lot of introspection, there is a lot of self examination, there is a lot of going around and seeing how other people do it,” Davis said. “And you kind of figure out what your strengths are, what your weaknesses are, things you want to shore up. So when you come back the next time you tend to focus on those things and bring those to the front while keeping all of the good things you did before.
“I have always been a big believer that these guys that spend a little time out of the game, have never lost their skills. But they gain as they go. Mike Shanahan did it. We could just go round and round. Tom Coughlin was out for a while (then) comes back and wins two Super Bowls with the Giants. Pete Carroll is another one. Reincarnated that way. I think there is a great learning curve for these coaches that just love football. They go around and learn new things and techniques and learn more about themselves.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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