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Schiano denies interest in Penn State

“There’s zero truth to that,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano says of a report that a representative of his has asked about the Penn State coaching job.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

“There’s zero truth to that,” Bucs coach Greg Schiano says of a report that a representative of his has asked about the Penn State coaching job.

TAMPA — Bucs coach Greg Schiano denied a report from pennlive.com that he had an intermediary inquire about the Penn State job on the chance Nittany Lions coach Bill O'Brien jumps to the NFL.

"You know, I heard that. No, there's zero truth to that," Schiano said Tuesday. "And I'll make it clear: The only job I want is the one I have right now."

The website reported that Schiano, Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak and Vanderbilt coach James Franklin all had expressed interest in the Penn State job through their respective representatives.

Schiano, who graduated from Bucknell, was an assistant under legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno in the early '90s.

Playoff atmosphere: The Saints (10-5) need a win Sunday over visiting Tampa Bay to clinch a playoff spot. A loss, coupled with a win by the Cardinals over the 49ers, would end the season for New Orleans.

The Bucs (4-11) are playing for pride — and possibly Schiano's job — but there is no postseason berth on the line. But the game has been flexed from 1 p.m. to 4:25 because of playoff implications.

Nonetheless, Schiano said his team could benefit from the postseason-like atmosphere.

"These guys are pro athletes, that's what they get paid to do," Schiano said. "I don't think pressure fazes these guys, to be honest with you. The excitement of playing in this game is really more of the story. When you're 4-11, you normally don't get pushed back in the day on the TV time. Obviously, it's a game with implications, and we're fortunate to be involved in it. Even though it's not our implications, it is our implications, and we want to do everything we can. It is our playoff game, and we're going down there to play it that way and come back with a victory."

Said DT Gerald McCoy, "It's playoff-style, not quite the playoffs, because regardless of what happens, we're not going to get to continue, but playoff-type atmosphere. They flexed the game for a reason. … It'll be good to see what happens (with) Bucs-Saints No. 2."

Disappointing for Sullivan: Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan oversaw the league's ninth-ranked offense a year ago, his first in Tampa Bay. It was the highest finish by an offense in club history.

But the 2014 version is 32nd — dead last — in the league this season with an average of 276.1 yards per game. Certainly there have been factors such as rookie QB Mike Glennon and injuries to WR Mike Williams and RB Doug Martin that have contributed to the plunge.

But Sullivan isn't making excuses.

"It's frustrating. It's disappointing," he said. "There's no doubt about it. It's not been the season in any way shape or form that anyone would've wanted. Not to the standard we had established last year. Difficult circumstances but none of it matters. At the end of the day, there is a job that has to get done despite any type of obstacles. It's a good thing all my focus and if you talk about where my pride is at this point, it's just on trying to, with the only opportunity we have left against a tough opponent and playoff-type atmosphere, is going out and responding … there's no way to turn back the hands of time and make things different."

Injuries: S Mark Barron, who did not play in Sunday's 23-13 loss at St. Louis, returned to practice Tuesday and was limited. LB Lavonte David, who injured his right elbow against the Rams, did practice and should be okay for Sunday's game at New Orleans. G Davin Joseph (knee) was limited. LB Dekoda Watson, who could not finish Sunday's game due to a groin injury, did not practice Tuesday and is day-to-day.

Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud@tampabay.com. View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs. Follow him on Twitter at @NFLStroud.

Schiano denies interest in Penn State 12/24/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 24, 2013 7:32pm]
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