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Tedford excited by challenge of NFL, rebuilding Bucs offense

TAMPA — In his last three years at the University of California, Jeff Tedford felt more like a contractor than a football coach.

He gave up his play-calling duties to devote more time to a $475 million retrofit of Memorial Stadium, including a 140,000-square-foot training facility. For nearly two years, protesting tree sitters kept a 24-hour residence in the tall redwoods and oaks that eventually were torn down.

"They were outside my office for about a year and three months," Tedford said; "woke up to them every day banging their drums or whatever it was."

Tedford, 52, now is in charge of another rebuilding project as the Bucs' new offensive coordinator under coach Lovie Smith. Tampa Bay finished last in the NFL in total offense this season. Having spent nearly his entire career at the collegiate level, Tedford says he's ready for the challenge.

"This whole thing is a huge breath of fresh air," Tedford said during his introductory news conference Wednesday.

Despite being fired after 11 seasons as Cal coach when it lost its final five games of 2012 to finish 3-9 — Tedford said he always kept an eye on the NFL. He is credited for developing Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and also had success with quarterbacks with styles that varied, from Trent Dilfer to Akili Smith.

But detractors point to the fact Tedford has never called plays in the NFL and turned those duties over to his staff at Cal in 2010.

The transition can be difficult as the Bucs experienced when they hired former Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski as offensive coordinator in 2009. Unable to produce the volume of plays needed at the pro level, Jagodzinski was fired 10 days before the start of the regular season. Tedford sees no such problems with adapting his offense to the NFL.

"I've been calling plays my whole life," he said. "Probably the last three years, as we started building that facility, I didn't feel like I could give the right amount of attention to it to get it done, and we had some very capable people who understood the offense.

"I was in every game plan meeting that we had, put the game plan in, and I would still call a few plays throughout the game if we got in a certain situation. I've called plays my whole life. I don't have any apprehension about that whatsoever."

The first order of business for Tedford will be evaluating the Bucs' talent, and he spent four days watching every play from this season. Known as a quarterback guru, Tedford said Wednesday that he was impressed with the body of work by rookie Mike Glennon, who went 4-9 as a starter with 19 touchdown passes and nine interceptions.

"It's really hard to know because you don't know what he was asked to do," Tedford said. "I think until you look and say, 'What was he asked to do?' You don't know if he was doing the right thing or the wrong thing. But my impression is he did a lot of good things. I think he's got a lot of poise in the pocket. I don't think he gets frustrated in the pocket. He's pretty smart with the football. When things aren't there, he's throwing them away and making good decisions.

"I see a lot of real positive things with Mike, and I'm really looking forward to getting to know him better."

Tedford also sees Glennon's flaws, including his inability to escape the rush and the need to add weight to his 6-foot-6 frame.

Tedford and Smith met in the fall at Smith's Lake Forest, Ill., home, spending two days talking football. Tedford said he learned his offensive philosophy meshed with that of the former Bears coach.

"We want to make sure we can run the football. We want to be physical up front running the football," Tedford said. "We want to be diverse. We want to get speed in space; multiple personnel, formations. We'll use tempo, change tempo from time to time. The big thing is to make sure we give the players the answers to the test; put them in positions to be successful. Preparation is key."

Tedford excited by challenge of NFL, rebuilding Bucs offense 01/15/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 11:02pm]
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