Bucs want to get back to 1-2 punch with Martin and Blount
LeGarrette Blount is a 6-foot-, 247-pound running back whose been known to hurdle defenders in the open field. But now the Bucs two-time rushing leader needs the new coaching staff to take a leap of faith in order for him to help jumpstart the anemic rushing attack.
Since losing the starting tailback job to Boise State rookie Doug Martin, Blount has rushed only seven times for 27 yards in three games this season. With the Martin off to a tepid start (63 rushes for 213 yards, 1 TD), coach Greg Schiano said Wednesday he'd like to get Blount more involved in the game plan.
The Bucs are ranked 21st in rushing offense with 94.7 yards per game.
"I think LeGarrette, we need to get him more involved, but I'm not going to make any changes the way we're doing it, just give him a little more action,'' Schiano said. "There was the whole thing with the injury and then we weren't sure what it was and it kind of threw things into flux a little bit. I think he's practicing very well now and he's ready to go so I think we'll have a good 1-2 punch like we envisioned early on. That's what my hope is.''
Blount, who led the Bucs in rushing with 1,007 yards in 2010 and 781 yards last season, suffered a stinger two weeks ago in a game against Carolina. He was in uniform but did not play against the New York Giants but rebounded last Sunday with four carries for 19 yards versus the Cowboys.
""ll be very happy to see that,'' guard Carl Nicks said of Blount. "I'm waiting for it. I love Doug to death. Because LeGarrette, what did he have? (Four) carries and (19 yards?). Enough said right?
"It changes up how the defense plays the run. The way you tackle LeGarrette is way different than how you tackle Doug. It’s night and day. Even when it’s a 2-yard gain, it takes three or four guys to take Blount down. But you need that thunder and lightning aspect in the running game and I think we’ve got it and hopefully we use it.''
Blount said Wednesday he was looking forward to contributing more.
"I'm excited about it,'' Blount said. "I hope that's what we get to, because you know, I want to play ball, too. Hopefully, we can get up to that.''
"A lof of guys numbers have been called lately due to injuries. I'm just waiting my turn. Hopefully, I'll get more carries.''
Schiano says his plan to play Blount more is not a reflection on Martin.
""I think he's running hard, I think he's running well,'' Schiano said of Martin. "I don't think we've done as good a job blocking as I thought we would be able to, but I have this vision and then you lose Davin (Joseph) and that throws it into a state of flux and we're starting a new guy at tackle (Demar Dotson) so I think we're going to clearly get better as we move forward.''
However, Schiano doesn't want to put a percentage on the number of carries each back will get in the game.
"I'm not sure I have that, it's more of the perfect feel type thing,'' Schiano said. "When it feels good and he gets in there and it feels right and he makes the right decision and starts running people over and hurdling and all the rest of the stuff and thien you bring Dougie back and he's fresh again. That's the perfect world. Is there apercentage? One week it could be 50-50 and the next week it could be 80-20. Whatever fits the situations perfect. I try to not to that. But you've got to be careful because if you go totally by feel, you can look up and it's the fourth quarter and he's got one carry. So it's a delicate balance.
"Then I want to be able to play-action pass, I want to be able to dropback pass , I want to be able to run the whole gambit of things. What we have not been able to do, especially last week, is effectively run the ball when we've wanted to. At times we did, but not consistency. When you want to run the ball, you run it consistently. We've been able to run it at times, then there are other times where it is a 1-yard, a 0-yard, a 2-yard gain. A successful run, 3.5 yards three times, you've got a first down.''