Bucs Central

Coach Quotes Wednesday: Raheem Morris

Bucs all smiles after Bucs first win

Morris all smiles after Bucs first win

Head coach Raheem Morris answered questions from the media following Wednesday’s practice. Morris spoke about the teams continuity with Josh Freeman under center…if he expects the Dolphins to bring more pressure…on what he would like to see over the next eight games and what he attributes the positive atmosphere in the locker room to.

(On playing against the wildcat formation)
“We had to play against it a little bit last year. A lot of people play zero coverage to it, some people play single safety. The bottom line when playing wildcat is somebody has to defeat a block, somebody has to make a play, somebody has to be aggressive. Like we always say the more physical, violent team is going to win and that’s just the case with Miami right now. They have a downhill running team that’s strong and able to do it on just about anybody. They’re scary. They have Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown and all of those type of guys and they’re coming at you full speed and they’re coming at you fresh and they’re coming at you rapid. Sometimes they take the quarterback out of the game and leave those guys in there just to do it and it’s not even a trick ‘em thing anymore. It’s just who they’ve become and who they are.”

(On Miami using the wildcat formation in only 10 percent of their plays)
“Yeah, they can turn around and hand it off to those two guys too. It’s just nice change up for those guys not having a blocker. You can remember vividly from the TV game that they had against Indy they used it a couple of times and if it works a lot, just like anything else, they’ll keep doing it. If you stop it or knock it out, they’ll go to the next package and keep it moving. These guys are going to do what they do. You know a lot about Dan Henning. You have a lot of respect for Dan Henning. His days at Carolina and all the stuff he’s done. He’s consistent. He’s a great self scouter of himself. He’s a great self evaluator of himself. You never can really get a beat on him. He’s always doing different things. He’s always doing different elements. He has some tendencies that he likes to do of course. Obviously like every other coordinator you have some things you like to do and you teach it well and you do it well. He’s done a lot of good things against the Bucs. We have a lot of respect for that offense.”

(On how it affects preparation time)
“You definitely have to work on it. There’s no doubt about it. You have to something different or you have to do something the same, you have to do it better. It’s option football. It’s Hofstra going to play Elon back in the day. It’s Navy going to play Notre Dame and you have to get ready to prepare and you have to do what you have to do that week. Whatever you are going to do special, whatever you are going to rely on as your natural strengths, it’s all of those things. It reminds me of playing the old wildcat. When I was playing safety and Lance Schulters you were the pitch man and I was running the ally and rover pitch and rover ally and [Greg] Gigantino and Coach [Joe] Gardi were yelling at us. It’s those things. It’s all those types of things that you have to and all those things that you have to get ready for and be ready for.”

(On fixating on the wildcat)
“You have to look at everything. You have to spread it around. You have to look at the whole package. You have to know what’s going on. It’s not about fixating on it. You just have to know what you are going to do to it and have the ability to stop it and be sound. And after that, you have to move on and do your normal preparations like you do. You can’t just start to add extra periods for wildcat and forget about nickel blitz and forget about third down and forget about all the things you might want to do to them and all the things they’re going to do to you. You have to put it in there. You have to fit it in to your schedule. You have to time it up.”

(On what he would like to see out of the team over the next eight games)
“Steady improvement. Now Josh Freeman’s in our offense so hopefully you can see steady improvement in our offense every game. I don’t know if he’s going to go out and throw three touchdowns again, but you just want to see steady improvement. The mistakes you make you don’t want to see them repeat. You want to at least get new mistakes. You want to see guys build around him and play around him faster and play harder around him. You want to see the defense improving on what they did in the fourth quarter in the second half a little bit, getting the ball back and scoring, coming up with six sacks. You want to improve on some of those things. They got a little bit better in that second half. They got a little bit better starting the first half and coming on really from the second play on. They had some pretty good plays. They had the chance to get some three and outs, had a chance to be exciting. The stadium was live and it’s where we want to go in Tampa. It’s what you want to see us improve on. You want to see your team not live in that moment or try to stay in that moment, but improve on those things and get better and better.”

(On how important it is to finish strong in the second half)
“It’s always important to finish strong. A very smart man once told me, ‘At one point you are going to get in this spot. You are going to come out of a bye and your big time quarterback is going to be talking to his team. He is going to be telling him about how many games we need to put ourselves in position for this in the playoffs.’ That’s what we are doing now. We are saying, ‘Hey, at some point we are going to be at this point and say we need two more games to clinch. We need four more games to win a division. We need five more games to lockup home field advantage. Let’s go find a way to do that. Then you have to do that with a healthy medium and not shutting it down at the end. You have to do that where you say, ‘We are getting better, we are getting sharper, we are getting crisper while everyone is not wearing down. We’re getting stronger.’ You have to find a way to do that. That’s what we are preparing ourselves to do. That’s how we have to practice and how we have to play.”

(On if he expects more pressure on Josh Freeman this weekend)
“It’s always about protection. Like I said, you can’t just get enamored with one thing because you think they are going to do something with Josh. You have to have your normal progressions, your normal practice. He is a quarterback. He’s been going through it, he’s been watching it and he is going to see it. We’re going to go in there and start with protection like we always do. The first meeting is protection. The coaches are going to get in there, see what protections we want to do. We are going to lock onto those protections, make sure we know how to block those looks and block those looks. If we get something new we have to get into the game and adjust with the rookie quarterback, which we had to do last week and go out there and just go get them. If they bring the pressure, you’re prepared, you’re ready, you had a plan. Hopefully it works. If it doesn’t work then you have to change the plan and you adjust. You do what you need to do to make it work.”

(On big plays from the special teams)
“I believe I said that awhile ago. I said that was going to be a strength of the team this year. It was clearly evident. You look out here in OTA days, you look out here in the offseason lifting program – those were the guys that were here constantly, full-time. You saw Geno Hayes, you saw Maurice Stovall, you saw Clifton Smith, every single day they were out there. They were out there running, they were out there going through their drills, they were out there working with their strength coach, going through it with Kurtis Shultz. They were doing the drills they do with us by themselves. You saw them do those drills together, as a team, as a unit. You see Donald Penn go out there and do it sometimes. We had a We-fense practice in the offseason one time when we needed some team building. It’s just the strength of our football team, it’s the lifeline, it’s the blood, it’s what drives us. It’s always been like that around here but we try to make it like that anyway. Even in the coaching staff; I’ve been coaching special teams since I’ve been here as well. We’ve got Rich Bisaccia who leads the charge and gives out the assignments still to this day. He gives all the coaches assignments, we’ve all got assignments. Richard Mann’s got the returners, [Todd] Wash has got the front-line players. Stukesy [Dwayne Stukes] has the scout team or he’s got the wingmen or the flyers, whatever it is. It’s the nature of the beast. It’s always been a group effort. We don’t have the coaches that go stand to the side when special teams periods are going on. No, we’ve got a bunch of guys that all work together, a bunch of guys that all get assignments.”

(On motivating starters to play on special teams)
“I think I do. I see Ronde Barber out there. He’s an older guy and I see him out there a bunch. These guys like it. They know it’s a winning edge. They like to go out there and block punts. I don’t know how many blocked punts we have, maybe two or three. It’s fun for those guys. They’re a threat to people. Do you ever watch our field goal rush? That’s the most prideful thing for our team right now. They can be demoralized by the touchdown they just gave up, but that field goal rush is always consistent. Every time you go, ‘Ooh!’ And that’s the way you want to feel because at some point you’re going to be set up in that position and that’s going to be the key factor and you’re going to block that thing and you’re going to win a football game. You’ve got to prepare and practice like that every single day, and that’s what they do.”

(On losing Will Allen and someone else stepping up)
“Will was definitely one of our big-time leaders on special teams, there’s no doubt about it. I’m sure he’ll still be out there being a leader as far as that but he won’t be out there playing with those guys. But you have other guys in position on special teams that are leaders. Torrie Cox was second to Will Allen in the captain voting. I don’t know if that means he assumes the captain’s role or not. I’ll have to go check the tally again. But Torrie Cox is one of those guys you lean on. Maurice Stovall is one of those guys you lean on. Maurice Stovall started at X [receiver] but he’s still out there playing flyer for us. All those types of guys who have been around – Earnest Graham is one of those types of guys you lean on, or Peanut [Clifton Smith] is one of those guys you lean on. He’s the Special Teams Player of the Week and that’s just awesome stuff. We’ve got a bunch of core guys that have been around here a long time that are both productive on offense or defense and special teams. That’s the beauty of our [special] teams game right now.”

(On the greatest value that comes from Sunday’s win)
“The greatest value? It’s just a relief to win for the guys, for this team. They work so hard. Our practices are pretty lively. They’re pretty physical, they’re pretty tough. We have our pads on. I don’t know if every team still has their pads on, but we do. We go out there every Wednesday with full pads, or at least shells, and we go hard and we play with pad level and we play physical and we play violent. Sometimes you get a little bit of murmuring or complaining, but you know what, they strap it up and they go. And they know that’s got to be their winning edge, their youth, their spirit, how they play. You see that on Sunday. They go play hard. You don’t always get the results you want but they definitely give you the effort and they definitely give you everything you need and everything you want.”

(On what he attributes the positive atmosphere in the locker room to)
“It’s just a different environment. You’ve got to attribute that to everybody in the building. I give everybody credit. I don’t want to sit here and take credit just for me. You’ve got a pretty good environment, from general manager down to equipment room, the equipment staff, the training staff. Everybody in the building, we all have a direction, we all have a place we want to go. We all know where we’re going, we all can see it, we all can see glimpses of it. And the closer you get to the building, the more light that comes from it. The further away, the less you can see it until you really start to look.”

(On if the team will have more continuity with healthy players and Josh Freeman starting)
“I don’t know if it’s more continuity. For some of those guys it’s more opportunity. Maurice Stovall got an opportunity to get out there and play and he had a lot of fun doing that. Brian Clark and all those guys, they get a chance to get out there and play a little bit. Michael Clayton, he split some reps with Brian Clark this week, trying to remain healthy, trying to get these guys to play faster. They’re buying into the team philosophy. We can’t wait to get Antonio Bryant back so he can buy into that team philosophy with us and he can do some of those same things. You know what you’ve got. There’s nothing like going out there with that many weapons. You look at…we’ll use the Saints, they’re in our division – Lance Moore. Nobody really knew who Lance Moore was until he came down here and caught a couple passes and went a couple other places and caught some passes. Now he’s a part of that rotation, heavy into it. You talk about Marques [Colston] down there from Hofstra, my guy, and all those types of guys. Devery Henderson. They’re not household names but down in New Orleans they’re big-time names. They go out there and make plays every single week. The Robert Meachems of the world, all those guys down like that. It’s about those guys having continuity, playing with each other, having their plays, going out there and doing their plays, getting it all done and getting great results. That’s what they’re doing right now.”

(On Sammie Stroughter)
“We’ve been talking about Sammie since the day he walked onto campus and he’s been a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know how it was going to be when they put on pads and he showed up in pads. I didn’t know how it was going to be when we started the preseason, and then he showed up in the preseason. I didn’t know how it was going to be when we started the games, and then he showed up in the games. Now he’s a big part of the game plan. He’s a guy you want to get the ball to. He’s a guy that the crowd, when he touches it, everybody gets excited. It’s a nice deal and I’m very excited about it. That’s a credit to what Mark Dominik was able to do late in the draft and how we evaluated him, how our receivers coach was able to evaluate him, and how we liked him and how we looked at him. It wasn’t about anybody else’s opinion. It was about how we felt and what we liked.”

Courtesy of Buccaneers Public Relations Department

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