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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Beat: Blount has little time to impress new coaches

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Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 04:13 PM
TAMPA -

Any suggestion the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will spend the fifth overall pick in this year's NFL draft on Alabama RB Trent Richardson has to be based on a belief the team has abandoned all hope LeGarrette Blount can become an every-down back.

Well, they haven't. Not just yet, anyway.

Though Blount has yet to prove during his two seasons in a Bucs uniform that he can block and catch well enough to earn regular snaps on third down, the team is willing to give him another chance.

Time, though, is not on Blount's side.

Even with a new head coach on board, Tampa Bay cannot begin its offseason workout program until April 2. That will leave less than a month before the draft starts April 26 to determine whether they can successfully expand Blount's role.

It also means they'll have to get creative in their analysis.

Though the amount of time coaches can spend working with players on the field is more limited than ever, there is no limit to how often a player can work out on his own while a coach watches from an office window.

That's what the Bucs will have to do while analyzing Blount, who must prove to new offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan he has the skills necessary to be an every-down back.

"I want to let these guys prove themselves to our new coaches," Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said.

"I already know what our coaching staff can do. I know what they're about and how they conduct themselves and they've (already) impressed. So, now it's time for the players we have here to impress them.''

Sneak preview

Head coach Greg Schiano won't ask much of his players. Instead, he will demand a lot of them, according to WR Mohamed Sanu, a potential first-round draft choice who played for Schiano at Rutgers.

"Coach Schiano is going to expect them to work and he's going to make sure they're doing what they're supposed to do and not messing around off the field or on the field," Sanu said last week at the NFL scouting combine. "They should expect a very demanding coach.''

Schiano will demand that his players hustle on every play, Sanu said. On defense, especially, he will demand all 11 players fly to the ball, much like former Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin did.

"I'm telling you, there will be 11 guys – unless they have another assignment – flying to the football on every play,'' Schiano said during a break at the combine.

"There are times when (you're) watching pro football and you may see nine or 10 going real hard. It's not easy to make 11 guys do something play after play after play. I'm not naïve to that fact, trust me.

"But that's going to be our expectation. Again, we're not going to lower our expectations. As I said the day I took the job here, I know you can find 53 guys that are willing to do it our way. We've just got to work at it.''

Three-peat

Schiano's decision to hire Bob Ligashesky as the special teams coordinator means all three of Tampa Bay's coordinators have won a Super Bowl.

Ligashesky won his ring as special teams coordinator with the Steelers in 2008, defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan as linebackers coach with the Giants in 2007 and Sullivan, who has won two, as Giants receivers coach in 2007 and quarterbacks coach this past season.


rcummings@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7979

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