FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• In his autobiography, “The Quarterback Whisperer,” Bucs head coach Bruce Arians scripts the first 30 plays in every game, but admits that he strays from the script depending on the flow the game. But whatever audible he makes – and ultimately the audibles from the script that offensive coordinator and play-caller Byron Leftwich will make this year for Tampa Bay – they will be from plays that were successful in practice that week.
“I’ll make about five or six gut calls a game. And they are rooted in feeling, in sensing how the game is unfolding and recalling something from memory that could work. The gut calls aren’t on the play call script, but we’ll have practiced them enough so our players will know how to execute the ‘feel’ calls that I’ll make.
• Nose tackle Beau Allen came to the Bucs as a big man last year, listed at 327 pounds on the Bucs roster, but in reality he wasn’t that big last year. In fact he was even under 320 pounds at times last season, but Allen looks noticeably bigger this year in his arms, his legs, his chest, his torso – everywhere. I asked Allen, who will be playing nose tackle, three technique defensive tackle as well as defensive end this year, where his weight currently is this offseason after Tuesday’s practice.
“I think I’m trying to play closer to what I was two years ago, which was 329-330,” Allen said. “I was more like 320 last year. We were in a 3-4 defense in Philly my first year and I was closer to 340, but I think 327-328 is a good number for me this year.”
• The Bucs released nose tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu, the team’s seventh-round pick from the 2017 draft, this week, but will consider re-signing him at a later date if he’s available. Tampa Bay likes the talent and depth it has along the defensive line right now, and Tu’ikolovatu was the third-string nose tackle behind starter Vita Vea and Beau Allen.
Unlike Vea and Allen, who have some position flexibility, Tu’ikolovatu is strictly a nose tackle as his versatility is limited. If there is an injury to either Vea or Allen, Tu’ikolovatu, who didn’t play a down in two injury-riddled seasons in Tampa Bay, the Bucs could bring him back.
• My daughter Ellie and I had a great time at the Mike Alstott Family Foundation Celebrity Outdoor Weekend dinner Thursday night. Alstott, his wife Nicole, and MAFF executive director Rich Clements do such a great job with this event every year as it raises money for the several local charities that the Mike Alstott Family Foundation supports. In addition to seeing Alstott and former Bucs players like Brad Johnson, Earnest Graham, Reidel Anthony, Anthony Becht and Martin Gramatica, current Buccaneers Jameis Winston and Will Gholston and head coach Bruce Arians were also on hand to support Alstott.
For more information on the Mike Alstott Family Foundation and the charities it supports, visit MikeAlstottFamilyFoundation.org. Click here to make a donation.
• WE ARE OVER 32,000 FOLLOWERS ON TWITTER! Thank you, Pewter Nation, for helping our @PewterReport Twitter account surge past 32,000 followers! The PR Twitter account continues to grow in popularity and there are some big reasons why. We cover Bucs practices, Bucs press conferences and break news on our @PewterReport Twitter account.
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• BUCS OTA OVERLOAD! We will be recording ANOTHER new Pewter Nation Podcast Friday afternoon following Friday’s OTA, which will be the final one before the mandatory mini-camp, which takes place next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
In the meantime, Pewter Reporters Mark Cook, Taylor Jenkins, Matt Matera and yours truly recorded the latest Pewter Nation Podcast, which is presented by Chris Garrido of Westshore Financial, after Tuesday’s Bucs OTA practice and talked about what we observed, as well as the arrival of new Bucs defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. Don’t miss this podcast!
If you missed our previous Pewter Nation Podcast, I told the story about how former Bucs head coach Raheem Morris called me up and was angry that I put Ndamukong Suh on the cover of our Pewter Report 2010 Bucs Draft Preview instead of Gerald McCoy. Listen to the podcast for all the details.
There is no better time to listen to a new Pewter Nation Podcast than on your drive home from work on Friday or running around doing errands or at the gym on Saturday. The next Pewter Nation Podcast will be taped on Friday afternoon following the team’s OTA practice.
The popularity of the Pewter Nation Podcast continues to grow. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here. And of course the Pewter Nation Podcast is also available on iTunes. Make sure you subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode.
• Bruce Arians has some deep ties to the Buccaneers dating way back to his days in college. Arians was a quarterback at Virginia Tech and roomed with James Barber, the father of Ronde and Tiki Barber. Arians and Barber were the first non-segregated Hokies roommates at Virginia Tech, too. Here’s a passage from Arians’ “The Quarterback Whisperer” autobiography.
“James and I became graduate assistants together at Virginia Tech,” Arians wrote in “The Quarterback Whisperer.” “We grew so close that Chris and I babysat James’s twin boys, Ronde and Tiki – future NFL stars. Tiki was sick a lot as a kid – he had fevers and convulsions – and so Chris and I would take care of Ronde when the family was at the hospital with Tiki. I’ll never forget bouncing Ronde on my knee for hours. Even today, I get a big kick out of hugging those Barber twins.”
As he details in “The Quarterback Whisperer,” Arians also got his first head-coaching job at Temple thanks in part to Jim Gruden, Jon Gruden’s father, who was a running backs coach at Tampa Bay under former head coach John McKay.
“Arians was on a recruiting trip visiting Howard Tippett of the Bucs. Jimmy Gruden, the running backs coach stopped by and suggested they all get a drink. Howard said: ‘By the way, Jimmy, this is the guy they should hire at Temple.’ Gruden was friends with the men who were on the Temple search committee.”
• I got to see one more Bucs legend at the Mike Alstott Family Foundation Celebrity Outdoor Weekend dinner. It was a treat to see legendary defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, and it got me thinking. The 79-year old Kiffin isn’t getting any younger and it looks like his health is fading the way he was walking uncomfortably, a bit hunched over.
If the Glazers have any notion to put Kiffin, who was the architect of the Tampa 2 defense, in the Bucs Ring of Honor, it needs to be next year. Kiffin deserves to be in the Bucs Ring of Honor because no other coach has won more games in Tampa Bay than Kiffin has, as he served as the defensive coordinator under both Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden.
One could make the argument that former Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice, running back James Wilder and linebacker Hardy Nickerson deserve to go in ahead of Kiffin, but I think Kiffin is right up there in that group of Bucs legends. The fact that Kiffin will turn 80 next February should create a sense of urgency with the Glazer family. Their father, former Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer, had to be inducted posthumously, and the great Lee Roy Selmon passed away suddenly at the age of 56 from a stroke just a few years after being inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor.
Kiffin helped fellow Bucs Ring of Honor inductees Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He also presided over a host of former assistant coaches that later became head coaches, including Herman Edwards, Lovie Smith, Rod Marinelli, Mike Tomlin and Gus Bradley. Kiffin certainly put his stamp on the Bucs franchise.
It’s time, Glazers. Put Kiffin in the Bucs Ring of Honor – in 2020.
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