Tampa Bay Buccaneers hire Alex Van Pelt as quarterbacks coach
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired former Buffalo Bills quarterback and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt as their quarterbacks coach.
The team is expected to announce the appointment once the contract is finalized sometime later this week.
A Bucs spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the report and had no comment.
Finding someone to work with quarterback Josh Freeman was one of the Bucs' biggest priorities, as head coach Raheem Morris has proclaimed this offseason to be chiefly about building around the 2009 first-round draft pick.
With former quarterbacks coach Greg Olson taking the offensive coordinator reins from Jeff Jagodzinski just 10 days before the start of last season, Olson was unable to devote himself to his original job. Hiring a quarterbacks coach will give Freeman needed one-on-one attention, Morris said last month.
Van Pelt played quarterback for the Bills from 1994-2003. He has coached with the team since 2006, first as a quality control coach and later as quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. He was fired along with the rest of coach Dick Jauron's coaching staff in January.
In fact, Van Pelt and Olson shared a similar fate last season. Olson was the Bucs' quarterbacks coach before he took over the play-calling duties from Jagodzinski, who was fired 10 days before the regular-season opener. Van Pelt was the Bills' quarterbacks coach before he took over the play-calling duties from Turk Schonert, who was fired at the end of the preseason.
The Bills finished 30th in the NFL in total offense, averaging just over 16 points per game.
The Bucs still have an opening for a receivers coach and have interviewed Ike Hilliard, who coached receivers for the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League in 2009. Hilliard, 33, played 12 seasons in the NFL, including the last four in Tampa Bay.
--RICK STROUD, Times staff writer