Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hayes revels in first block

Bucs rookie linebacker Geno Hayes enjoyed plenty of highlights during his stellar career at FSU. Last year, he returned an interception 38 yards for a late touchdown to help end second-ranked Boston College's perfect season. And as a freshman, he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone against Clemson for a touchdown. But Hayes never had a moment like the one he created Sunday. With Carolina's Jason Baker back to punt on the game's first possession, the 6-1, 226-pounder from Greenville burst through the line untouched and blocked the punt. He then scooped up the bouncing ball and dashed 22 yards for a 7-0 lead 2:35 into the game. It was the first blocked punt by a Buccaneer since David Gibson in 2003, and the first blocked punt returned for a TD since Todd Yoder in 2001. And Hayes was understandably ecstatic. How did the play come about?

We called a little blitz for the whole line. As I was going, the outside tackle took a step or two too far outside. I gave him a stutter and go, went up under, blocked the punt, scooped it and went.

Was there anything you'd seen on tape with Carolina to exploit?

That I can't answer. … Can't give out secrets. But there were some things on tape they had shown, especially from their blocks from the Chicago game (on Sept. 14).

What was going through your mind?

Pick it up. Score. And just go crazy. That was my thought. Score and just have fun with it. It was a big thing and I knew it was going to boost momentum.

Where will you put the ball?

Right next to my TV up under the Houston Texans interception (from preseason).

It almost looked like you dribbled the football. Did you consider falling on it instead?

When I hit it, (the ball) bounced off my chest and hit the ground real fast. And when I looked down, it bounced back up. I caught it in my hands, like it just came to me.

How big did your eyes get?

They got real big, 'cause I was surprised myself that I came that free.

Have you ever blocked a punt before at any level?

That's my first one ever.

How big was this for you personally?

It was real big. I've been doing pretty good so far, but this added a little bit more to my repertoire.

Dave Scheiber, Times staff writer

Hayes revels in first block 10/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, October 13, 2008 2:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Yellow cards stall Rowdies offense in tie with St. Louis

    Soccer

    ST. PETERSBURG — It's not the result they wanted, but it certainly could have been worse. Neill Collins' 87th-minute header off a corner kick was the reward the Rowdies settled for Saturday night during a 1-1 draw with St. Louis before an announced 6,068 at Al Lang Stadium.

  2. Calvary Christian routs Pensacola Catholic to win state baseball title

    Baseballpreps

    FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian left no doubt as to which baseball team in Class 4A was the best in Florida this season. The Warriors defeated Pensacola Catholic 11-1 in six innings Saturday night at Hammond Stadium to claim the school's first state championship in any team sport. It also solidified a 30-0 season. …

    Matheu Nelson celebrates after scoring on a wild pitch during the first inning, when Calvary Christian took a 6-0 lead.
  3. Numerous lapses add up to frustrating Rays loss to Twins

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — While the Rays made some good defensive plays, threw a couple of big pitches when they needed to and got a few, and just a few, key hits, there were some obvious things they did wrong that led to them losing Saturday's game to the Twins 5-3:

    Rays reliever Tommy Hunter says the Twins’ tiebreaking homer came on a pitch that was “close to where I wanted it.”
  4. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. laughing right along after comical dive

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — Souza being Souza.

    That seemed to be the best way to describe the entertaining — and comically bad — dive Rays RF Steven Souza Jr. attempted in Friday's game, and the good humor he showed in handling the fallout, including a standing ovation his next at-bat from the …

    Twitter
  5. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Twins game

    The Heater

    RHP Jake Odorizzi had to battle without his best stuff again, which is becoming a more common occurrence, leading to long at-bats — including 13 pitches to Kennys Vargas in the fifth — and running up his pitch count to 118 without finishing the sixth.