When the Buccaneers drafted Donovan Smith in the second round earlier this month, most assumed he would automatically be inserted as the starter at left tackle. But on Monday offensive line coach George Warhop said for now the former Penn State standout has to beat out 2014 draft pick Kevin Pamphile.
Following Monday’s workout at One Buc Place Warhop talked about the challenges of the position, the strengths of Smith and the current pecking order.
“It is definitely a big challenging position,” Warhop said. “For your left tackle, you want a guy that is smart, you want a guy with size, a guy with range, you want a guy with athleticism. The best guys I’ve been around have all had that. He’s got size. He’s very, very bright. He’s very athletic. We are putting in a lot of stuff. I don’t know about a true mistake he has made so far. So far he has a good start, but Kevin Pamphile is in front of him. He has to beat Kevin out to be the starter at this point.”
Warhop then turned his attention to Pamphile.
“He was a fifth-round pick, he was a kid that switched over from defensive end,” Warhop said. “I wish we could have played him more. I thought, when he went in there, there were some ups and downs, but he played enough that you look at and go ‘Okay, you might have something there.’ If I could do it all over again, I would have doubled his snaps. We would have a much better picture of what he is.
“I think he has grown a lot in terms of being a pro, understanding what it takes, the time you need to put in, the work ethic you need to be successful. That was a work in progress a year ago. I think he is plugged in to that now. We’ll see what happens. I am excited for him, whether he is the starter, backup or whatever. I think he has the traits we want in our tackles. He’s long and athletic. He’s smart and can be physical. That’s going to be a common theme. All the guys we bring in here, we want to be athletic, we want them to be smart and we want them to be physical. If we can do that we have a chance to be a pretty good group.”
During the course of the conversation Warhop revealed that Patrick Omameh, who started all 16 games at guard for the Bucs in 2014 but shared time with Garrett Gilkey and Josh Allen, was moving to a new position. Warhop also talked about some other new faces on the offensive line.
“We (have) moved Pat Omameh to tackle,” Warhop said. “I think that is going to help him. I’ve been impressed with him out there so far because he has not done it. Once we get outside of him, we have added a couple free agents. (Reid) Fragel we brought in from Atlanta. Edawn (Coughman), we brought him. He was here at the end of the year last year in training camp. They are both athletic guys. We’ll have to see how it all shakes out. I can’t predict that at this point.”
The Buccaneers gave up 52 sacks in 2014, third worst in the NFL and added Smith and guard Ali Marpet in this year’s NFL Draft to help improve a unit that struggled. New offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said on Monday that protecting the quarterback is crucial to any success Tampa Bay will have in 2015.
“(52 sacks is) way too many sacks given up last year,” Koetter said. “I’m not criticizing anybody by saying that. That’s just a fact. Where the Bucs, where we have to improve is first and foremost our quarterback play and second, we have to improve our offensive line play. As coaches, whatever scheme we end up putting out there, we have to do our best to give those guys the best chance to be successful. We’ll do our best to try to help it. That’s too many sacks. We can’t have that many sacks.”
– George Warhop photo by Mark Lomoglio/PR
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 [email protected]
I think this is good news. Plenty of competition and starting jobs must be earned. Go Bucs!
Agreed. I also agree with Warhop that I wish he would have doubled Pamphile’s snaps. I kind of like what little I’ve seen of Pamphile. I wish Warhop would have done a lot of things differently.
Did watch the way the Panthers were teeing off on Pamphile last yr?
Well Bucfan-I agree with you on some points. But in another article I wrote a paragraph that really gets fans upset. Why is this Player going to start ofer the 2nd pick at #34. Tampa could have gotten Big Ot Jake Fisher from Oregon or Ot Rob Havenstein from Wisc.!The staff needs more experience offense linemen that comes from bigger college.Go Bucs
I’m at it again. If you are a die hard Draft Fan go back and see what was available after Tampa picks in all 7 rds!
Another stupid move by Warthrop moving a mediocre guard to LT just like he moved sorry ass O’Neil Cousins from guard to LT, he buddy if they suck at guard they will suck at LT which is a harder position to play just fyi. Don’t worry Pamphile is a joke you got this Donovan just show up and its yours.
Jongruden, I agree with you.
The only way to make the worst O-line in football even worse: make everyone change positions. Most of these guys are practice squad /unemployed talent. Demar Dotson and Logan Mankins are the only NFL-proven players on our O-line. Pamphile was used as a TE last year due to injuries- he got blown apart at OT just like Collins. I like Marpet but he has to get much bigger if he’s going to play OG; Donovan Smith is a powerful but is susceptible to quick pressures and lacks endurance in the 2nd half…counting on 16 starts for our rookie linemen might be asking a bit much…. 2015 is going to be “baptism by fire” for these young guys
Demar Dotson was practice squad talent…
Anyone hear how Bobby Bowden called “Winston an embarrasment to FSU and him and a lot of FSU Boosters wereglad he left among all the negative headlines? Strong words for a guy who was coach during the credit card and shoe scandal and coached players such as Laverneas Coles, AJ Nicholson, Adrian Mcphearson etc
Jongruden, you didn’t listen to the entire video.
Our OL still makes me very nervous. Winston will be a star but it’ll be hard for him to develop behind such a crap OL. If they can’t get it right this year, I say get rid of Warhop like they should’ve done this year
Bobby Bowden is still alive? Yeah the boosters are glad he’s gone. They hated winning 26 games, and a national championship. Sure Bobby, now drink some ensure before changing your diaper. Don Smith played left tackle for 3 years at Penn State, he’ll be playing left tackle for the Bucs opening day. Warhop, it’s just coach speak, he can’t say all our tackles sucked last year, that’s why we drafted Smith.
surferdudes, agree with you. More fans than not wanted Bowden gone long before they finally got the courage to say leave.
I was disspapointed they kept Warhop. No faith in him really until he proves otherwise. Can’t believe wasn’t a better option for O line coach maybe someone Koetter liked?
Ya – I am in agreement with most of you …this is not good news. A solid OL does not begin the year “experimenting” with 5th rounders, guards moving to tackle and tackles moving to guard (which Smith will do soon enough)….I hope JW is practicing his running moves.
Part of me wants to buy into Warhop but part of me (strictly based on performance) don’t quite receive what Warhop says.
I know he was stretched thin without an OC but the OL looked inept last season and didn’t progress. They actually looked like they didn’t even know their assignments.
Time will tell.
If Smith doesn’t start then we made a big mistake in who we drafted. I guess if LOT doesn’t work out then Dotson will go there in Smith’s place no matter what is being said right now.
As much as I have at least some degree of skepticism about Warhop due to his influence in bringing Gilkey, Cousins and Collins here; I’m pretty sure he knows a lot more about the potential of Panphile and Omameh to develop at their assigned position than any of us. I didn’t hear the Bobby Bowden piece, but as someone said, there were a lot of folks wanted him to hit the exit long before he was pushed through it. And he certainly left his own trail of embarrassments in his wake.
Any coach that puts O’Neil Cousins at LT is a idiot and does not know more than me
scubog; Past FSU Coach has a lot of baggage, but us Nole fans don’t like to show our garbage out to the public. Just just say good ole boy talker was all about money and don’t anyone think otherwise just because he carries a Bible. There must be something in that book to say it’s okay to be greedy and use people and hire as many family members as you can whether they know what a football looks like or not. Also nothing is free in order to hear that good ole boy as a guest speaker. His wife has history in town as a big mouth demanding person. I heard a lot of Nole fans who went to away games and stayed in the same hotels and were embarrassed with her behavior to employees that were trying their best to do their jobs. What I’m saying is if the Press is going to throw out Winston’s past, they should look also at other peoples past the same way too.
I listened to the entire interview and I didn’t really the overly negative aspect of what Bowden said. The media left the positive things out, as expected
Better QB play and a better scheme is just as important as better offensive line play. McCown held onto the ball way too long last year. Same thing for Glennon at times. They have some players with size and smarts now. Scheme is important too. Look at Tom Brady and the Patriots, they use a quick passing scheme with short crossing routes to limit pressure on him. Its much easier to hold a block for 2 seconds than 5 seconds.
I agree. Moving Oniel Cousins (G 16, GS 7,5 PEN, 5.5 SACK) and Patrick Omameh (G 16, GS 16, 3 PEN, 7 SACK) from guard to tackle is delusional. I am sure Warhop had influence in bringing Gilkey, Cousins and Collins. Did he als influence releasing Zuttah, Penn, Joseph and Carimi?
It looks like we are getting this thing all turned around with our new OC and our new players we drafted. Its a new attitude on the O-Line.
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