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Fundamentals, Fundamentals, Fundamentals: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coaching Staff

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The Buccaneers are a very young and a very inexperienced team. This creates a lot of challenges, the biggest of which is getting the players adjusted to the NFL quickly and effectively. Last season the Bucs had 10 different rookie starters, and this wouldn't have been possible if they hadn't focused on teaching fundamentals to players. They started to focus on that by hiring Alex Van Pelt as quarterbacks coach, who helped Josh Freeman reach the next level. Another addition to the coaching staff during the 2010 offseason was Eric Yarber as WR coach. Yarber played receiver with the Redskins for 2 years, but has spent most of his time coaching in college, and has thus spent a lot of time teaching fundamentals. 

This hiring tactic continued in 2011, with the addition of Keith Millard and Grady Stretz to coach the defensive line. Grady Stretz has spent his entire career as a position coach in college and has produced good results as a defensive line coach. But the hiring of a college specialist signals a focus on fundamentals and teaching inexperienced players. The same goes for Keith Millard, who may not have spent much time as a college coach but has been a pass rush throughout most of his career. Again, a coach who focuses on fundamentals and can make young, inexperienced players better. The hiring of Pat Morris doesn't necessarily fit this strategy, but the offensive line is more experienced than most position groups anyway. 

But focusing on fundamentals isn't the only thing that helps the young players. The scheme has to work with them as well. You can't ask inexperienced players to run very complicated schemes. That's why you won't see rookies making a big impact with the defense of the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers or New Orleans Saints. Those schemes ask a lot of their players, and plugging in inexperienced players is hard because of that. Contrast that with the Bucs' base Tampa 2, which is a fairly simple defense to teach and play in. Although Morris did try to insert more complicated schemes as the season went on, the core remained simple.