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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Schiano wants Freeman to push the 'reset button'



Quarterback Josh Freeman had a season in 2011 he would like to forget. That's exactly what Bucs coach Greg Schiano wants him to do.

"What I’m going to do is ask Josh to just kind of take a mind eraser and start over,'' Schiano said Thursday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

One year after throwing 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions while posting a 10-6 record in his first full year as a starter, Freeman and the Bucs crashed back to earth, passing for 16 touchdowns and 22 interceptions while losing 10 straight games to finish 4-12.

But Freeman will not only have a new head coach but a new offensive coordinator in Mike Sullivan, the Giants quarterbacks coach the past two seasons who helped quarterback Eli Manning enjoy one of his best years and a Super Bowl XLVI victory over the Patriots in Indianapolis.

Schiano said rather than try to recapture some of the things Freeman did well in 2010, Sullivan will start over with the 24-year-old quarterback.

"Sully is going to start from scratch with him and there’s nothing wrong with that,'' Schiano said. "Sometimes in your career, you hit the reset button, especially after a tough go of it. So rather than look back at trying to get back to some old form he had…he’s a young kid. I think I looked at his age and he’s 24 now. He’s been in the league (three years). It’s great you have a guy with that youth, the ability he has and the opportunity to hit the reset button at age 24. I think he’s fortunate and I have all the faith in the world in Sully and whoever we hire as quarterbacks coach are going to get him (ready) because he wants to.''

In addition to his obvious physical talents, Freeman has a chance to be great because of his love for football, Schiano said. 

"That guy has got a burning desire,'' Schiano said of Freeman. "If you love football, that’s 90 percent of the battle. The problem is, there’s a lot of guys in the National Football League who like football. They love getting paid, they love all that stuff. But they like the game itself. Josh loves the game. Sure he doesn’t mind the money and all that stuff. Who wouldn’t? But do you love football? He does.''

[Last modified: Thursday, February 23, 2012 6:43pm]


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