Rookie Mason Foster, who was thrown into the fray at middle linebacker. Is embracing the challenge of replacing ex-Buc and current Tennessee Titan Barrett Ruud, who set the defense for the Bucs the last five seasons before leaving as a free agent this off-season.
Foster who was penciled in as the starter – midway through training camp, after out dueling incumbent Tyrone McKenzie won’t be charged with aligning the defense, just yet. Those duties will be shouldered by strong-side linebacker Quincy Black. Foster who didn’t have a normal off-season, nor the luxury of being an understudy to prepare for such a pivotal role. On a youngry defense, isn’t expected to be given total control until he fully acclimates to the pro’s.
“I just have to keep working every day and get more familiar with everything, keep talking to Quincy and Geno,” the third-round draft pick out of the University of Washington told FoxSportsFlorida.com. “Sooner or later, I’ll be there. But until then, I’m just working on what I need to work on. And I’m feeling good.”
Starting weakside linebacker Geno Hayes, who knows a thing or two about replacing a revered player and the pressure associated with living up to loafty exceptions, started in place of future Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks in 2009, shortly after the Bucs cut Brooks shared some fatherly advice with Foster, as he continues to hone his skills and get comfortable calling plays in the huddle.
“It’s a big thing but what I tell him is don’t let anybody try to compare you to anybody else,” Hayes said. “At the end of the day, you’re you. You can’t be Barrett Ruud. Just be Mason Foster and what you bring to the table. All the other stuff will die out. And he’s got that mentality already. I don’t think he’s even feeling that pressure.”