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Bucs veteran assistant Coyer gets more responsibilities

Looking to impress: Josh Johnson, a fifth-round pick, throws a pass during the final day of the Bucs’ rookie minicamp.

BRIAN CASSELLA | Times

Looking to impress: Josh Johnson, a fifth-round pick, throws a pass during the final day of the Bucs’ rookie minicamp.

TAMPA — Larry Coyer has seen a lot of football in his coaching career, one that spans four decades.

So why limit the impact of the Bucs assistant to one unit? It's a question coach Jon Gruden asked long ago and now has answered by dramatically altering the duties of the former defensive line coach who also holds the title of assistant head coach.

Coyer, the 65-year-old former Broncos defensive coordinator, will lend his expertise to several units, including the offensive line, while assisting Gruden in various capacities.

Former defensive quality control coach Todd Wash becomes defensive line coach.

"I want to have Larry Coyer more involved with the whole football team," Gruden said. "He still will have responsibilities with the defensive line, the linebackers, and I want to use him on offense as well. His background (and) expertise can help us.

"It's a very creative role. … I just think he can be a good resource for (offensive line coach) Bill Muir and our offensive staff and keep his fingers on the defense as well."

The move might be a response to the loss of former running backs coach/assistant head coach Art Valero, who joined the Rams in January. Valero worked side by side with Gruden in his six seasons in Tampa Bay.

Coyer said there can be advantages to having a coach with a defensive background involved in offensive preparation.

"If you put something new in (the offense), you want to know how (the opponent) is going to go after you," he said. "The big thing is the terminology. But fortunately, it is fairly similar to Denver's."

Wash, a former defensive coordinator at Missouri Southern State and defensive line coach at North Dakota State, is entering his second season with the Bucs.

sticking around: A three-day rookie minicamp ended Sunday, but a handful of the 38 players who signed tryout contracts might be invited to training camp.

"There were four or five guys that we're going to try really hard to put on our football team," Gruden said. "I would (tell you the players' names), but I don't want the other teams to know about it."

One of those could be Troy (and former Florida State) defensive tackle Chris Bradwell.

"He showed some quickness and strength, and it was good to see what he could do," Wash said.

Gruden said the 80-man roster limit will prevent the Bucs from signing more players from the minicamp.

"I was really pleased with the players and coaches," Gruden said. "We got a lot of work done, and guys really worked hard. I'm just really disappointed that we won't have the opportunity to take as many of these guys to training camp because they sure deserve it.

"It really makes me sick in some ways. I really feel bad for them."

E FOR EFFORT: Coaches recognized three players for their effort: Bethune-Cookman (and former Hillsborough High) linebacker Ron McCullough, Ohio State fullback Stan White and Miami center John Rochford.

"They were three guys that the staff voted on and really stood out because of their effort," Gruden said. "I have a lot of respect for those guys. We gave them their helmet to take home with them to use as a piece of motivation to hopefully keep things working where they get an opportunity one day."

INJURY BUG: Appalachian State receiver Dexter Jackson, a second-round draft pick, was limited for the second straight day with a hamstring strain. Running back Cory Boyd, a seventh-round pick from South Carolina, had a brace on his left knee and walked off the practice field 20 minutes into the workout.

Bucs veteran assistant Coyer gets more responsibilities 05/04/08 [Last modified: Thursday, May 8, 2008 10:40am]
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