Bucs hire Vikings offensive line coach Pat Morris
The Bucs have hired Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Pat Morris, a 14-year NFL coaching veteran with strong ties to offensive coordinator Greg Olson.
One day after firing offensive line coach Pete Mangurian, Tampa Bay moved swiftly to find the right fit with their philosophy and coaching staff.
Morris was the Lions offensive line coach in 2004-05 under Steve Mariucci when Olson served as quarterbacks coach and later offensive coordinator. He also worked for the 49ers as an assistant when Olson was the quarterbacks coach in San Francisco.
Morris has directed the league's No. 1 rushing attack three times during his career (1998-99, '07) and ranked in the NFL's top 10 on eight occasions.
In 2008, the Vikings strong rushing attack was responsible for a 10-6 record and NFC North title. Running back Adrian Peterson set a club record by leading the league with 1,760 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns. In '07, the Vikings had the league's top running attack with a team-record 2,634 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns.
Morris coached seven seasons (1997-03) with the 49ers, as tight ends/assistant offensive line coach from 1997-98 and the offensive line coach from 1999-2003. During that period, the 49ers had the second-highest rushing total in the NFL, averaging 135.5 yards per game over the seven-year span and sending four offensive linemen to the Pro Bowl.
Mangurian was fired Friday despite having great success in 2010 despite injuries to four starters on the offensive line. The Bucs ranked eighth in rushing in the NFL and did a good job protecting quarterback Josh Freeman. Tampa Bay was forced to play rookie guards Ted Larsen and Derek Hardman but still averaged a club record 4.6 yards per carry. Rookie LeGarrette Blount led all first-year players with 1,007 rushing yards.
But Morris' hiring underscores the fact that Olson had a big input into the offensive coaching staff. Mangurian originally was hired in 2009 to implement a zone blocking scheme under Jeff Jagodzinski. But the Bucs fired Jagodzinski 10 days before the season opener and promoted Olson from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. The Bucs have slowly returned to more power blocking schemes under Olson.