On Thursday Tampa Bay Times Bucs beat writer Rick Stroud wrote that Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith would be taking over the defensive play calling from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier this season.
Following practice on Saturday, Smith was asked about the switch, but didn’t give many details or confirm the change in the order of command.
“First of all I have been involved defensively, every year I have been a head coach. Some years I am more involved than others. Simple as that. I have been in the same role, been doing the same thing since training camp started. I don’t see that being much of a story really.”
Smith was then asked to comment further.
“I’ve been involved some form every year I’ve been a football coach. Some years more so than others. This year, with our situation on the offensive side, I can be a little more involved on the defensive side.”
A source confirmed Stroud’s report to PewterReport.com on Friday evening, but didn’t provide any additional details.
In his report earlier in week Stroud pointed out this type of change isn’t unfamiliar to Smith writing, “It’s not the first time Smith has taken added defensive play-calling to his head coaching duties. After the Bears finished 28th (354.7 yards per game) in 2007 and 21st in 2008 (334.7 ypg) under then-defensive coordinator Bob Babich, Smith started calling plays while Babich retained his title. Chicago improved slightly under Smith in 2009 to 17th in total defense and tied for 21st in points (23.4).”
This change is also not unfamiliar in the Buccaneers organization as well. In 2009, in his first season as head coach of Tampa Bay, Raheem Morris assumed defensive play calling duties from then defensive coordinator Jim Bates prior to a Week 12 road trip to Atlanta. Bates moved on from the organization following his demotion, but don’t expect that to be the case for Frazier who most likely will stay in the box for the Buccaneers during games and help relay information to the coaching staff down on the field while also being heavily involved in game planning during the week.
Coming off a 2-14 season Smith knows the team overall performance must improve, especially on defense (25th in total defense), a unit where Smith earned his reputation beginning back in 1996 as a member of former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy’s staff.