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Thursday, Sep 18, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs hire Frazier to run defense

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Published:   |   Updated: January 3, 2014 at 11:51 PM

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith appears to be putting together the staff many predicted he would when the Bucs pulled him out of the unemployment line earlier this week.

One day after saying former University of California coach Jeff Tedford will become Smith’s offensive coordinator, a Bucs source with knowledge of the transactions confirmed Friday that former Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier will become Smith’s defensive coordinator.

Frazier, who was fired last week after a three-year run with the Vikings in which he compiled a 21-32-1 record, first revealed the news himself in a text to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

Frazier, 54, replaces Bill Sheridan, who served as former Bucs coach Greg Schiano’s defensive coordinator for two years before being fired this week along with the rest of Schiano’s assistants.

Frazier is returning to a post he first held with the Bengals from 2003-04 and held again from 2007-10 with the Vikings, who made Frazier their interim head coach for the last six games of the 2010 season.

Like Smith, Frazier has worked for former Bucs coach Tony Dungy, who hired Frazier as a defensive assistant for the Colts and eventually made him a special assistant to the head coach and defensive backs coach.

During Frazier’s time in Indianapolis, the Colts’ pass defense improved from 15th overall in the NFL in 2005 to second in 2006, the year the Colts beat Smith’s Bears in Super Bowl XLI.

Frazier was first hired by the Vikings four days after that Super Bowl victory as a replacement for Mike Tomlin, who had been named head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and he quickly made an impact.

After ranking 21st overall in total defense in 2007, the Vikings defense finished sixth overall in 2008 and 2009 and eighth overall in 2010.

That unit slipped after Frazier took over as head coach, placing 21st, 16th and 31st in 2011, 2012 and 2013 respectively.

The decision to make Frazier the defensive coordinator leaves the Bucs with only one more major appointment to make, that of a replacement for general manager Mark Dominik, who was fired Monday along with Schiano.

Several internet reports have suggested that position will go to Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel Chris Ballard, but the Bucs have refused to comment on those reports.

rcummings@tampatrib.com

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Twitter: @RCummingsTBO

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