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Jeremy Zuttah gets starting role on offensive line for Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA — Jeremy Zuttah's versatility has always been his greatest strength and perhaps his biggest curse.

Capable of playing guard, center or tackle, the Bucs seem to prefer to leave him on the bench in case of an injury.

But Zuttah is scheduled to replace Ted Larsen and start at left guard Sunday against the Vikings, coach Raheem Morris said Friday.

"Zuttah has been playing well in the preseason," Morris said. "I know he's a smart player. I know I'm going to get that from him. But I just want him to play hard and nasty like he had been playing. Larsen didn't play terrible last week, but coming off the (ankle) injury, I didn't think he played as aggressive as he normally could and give me the power that he normally gave me last year. So we'll try a little change up this week."

Larsen, a former Palm Harbor University High standout, injured his ankle in the Aug. 18 preseason game against New England.

"When he injured that thing in the Patriots game, he didn't want to tell anybody," Morris said. "It's just one of those things, you've got to be the coach of that whole situation. Larsen is a young player who doesn't want to give anybody any snaps. … He doesn't want to be Wally Pipp'ed."

Zuttah, who started eight games at center and one at left guard last season, said he would prefer to remain at one position.

"I'm looking forward to getting back out there," Zuttah said. "It's tough having to play a couple positions. You feel like if you could lock in at one, you could kind of specialize at that thing. But you kind of do what you have to do to help the team. I'm just looking forward to my opportunity."

Morris said Zuttah's football IQ enables him to play every line position.

"It's really amazing to be that smart," Morris said. "He's quarterback smart. He can go to any position and pretty much play any position. He can play backup tight end for us. He does it all — tackle, guard, center. He's athletic enough to probably go get a carry or two. He's really a versatile player and a great addition to our football team.

"He gets angry, but he always handles it the right way. He takes it out on the practice field and usually I end up having to tell him to calm down at practice."

TRASH TALK: With FSU and Oklahoma playing tonight, there was some trash talking going on in the Bucs locker room. DT Gerald McCoy, a former Sooner star, minced no words: "We're going to kill Florida State." LB Dekoda Watson, a former Seminole standout, had something to say about that. "I know Gerald will say silly stuff like 'We beat you last year,' " Watson said, smiling. "Just come talk to me after the game."

NOT GONE FOR LONG SNAPPER: The team announced Friday that it had re-signed long snapper Christian Yount, who it had waived this week, and waived Scott Albritton, who the team had signed to replace him.

INJURIES: WR Sammie Stroughter is out against the Vikings after surgery to repair a broken foot he sustained in the opener vs. the Lions. CB Myron Lewis (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis Friday but will not play. T James Lee has swelling in his knee and did not practice Friday.

Times staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report.

Jeremy Zuttah gets starting role on offensive line for Tampa Bay Buccaneers 09/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 11:16pm]
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