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Tampa Bay Buccaneers hire Pat Morris as offensive line coach

Pat Morris was the offensive line coach with the Vikings when they led the league in rushing in 2007.

Getty Images (2007)

Pat Morris was the offensive line coach with the Vikings when they led the league in rushing in 2007.

TAMPA — The Bucs won't have to wonder how their new offensive line coach will fit with the rest of the staff.

On Saturday, Tampa Bay hired Vikings offensive line coach Pat Morris, a 14-year NFL coaching veteran with strong ties to offensive coordinator Greg Olson.

The announcement came one day after the team fired offensive line coach Pete Mangurian.

Morris was the Lions' offensive line coach in 2004-05 under Steve Mariucci when Olson served as quarterbacks coach and later offensive coordinator in Detroit.

Morris worked for the 49ers as an assistant when Olson was the quarterbacks coach in San Francisco.

Nine times in the past 14 seasons, Morris has directed an offensive line that finished in the top 10 in rushing, including No. 1 overall three times.

Morris coached seven seasons (1997-03) with the 49ers, as tight ends/assistant offensive line coach from 1997 to 1998 and offensive line coach from 1999 to 2003. In that period, the 49ers had the second-highest rushing total in the NFL, averaging 135.5 yards per game over the seven-year span and sending four offensive linemen to the Pro Bowl.

Mangurian was fired Friday after a season that was successful despite injuries to four starters on the line. The Bucs ranked eighth in rushing in the NFL and did a good job protecting quarterback Josh Freeman. Tampa Bay was forced to play rookie guards Ted Larsen and Derek Hardman but still averaged a club-record 4.6 yards per carry. Rookie LeGarrette Blount led all first-year players with 1,007 rushing yards.

But Morris' hiring underscores the fact that Olson had big input into the offensive staff. Mangurian was hired in 2009 to implement a zone blocking scheme under Jeff Jagodzinski. But the Bucs fired Jagodzinski 10 days before the opener and promoted Olson from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator. The Bucs have slowly returned to more power blocking under Olson.

Morris will be reunited with starting left tackle Donald Penn, who entered the league with the Vikings as an undrafted rookie and spent 2006 on their practice squad.

The Bucs still have openings for a defensive line coach and a defensive quality control assistant.

Around the league

DOLPHINS: General manager Jeff Ireland has signed a multiyear contract extension. Terms were not available.

PRO BOWL: Cardinals defensive tackle Darnell Dockett, a former Florida State standout, was added to the NFC roster as a replacement for Minnesota's Kevin Williams, who himself replaced Detroit's Ndamukong Suh. Williams' wife is expecting a child. Suh has a shoulder injury.

GLENN ARREST: Former receiver Terry Glenn was arrested Thursday in Denton, Texas, on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and marijuana possession. According to several reports, it was the fourth arrest for Glenn since his career ended after the 2007 season.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers hire Pat Morris as offensive line coach 01/22/11 [Last modified: Saturday, January 22, 2011 10:01pm]
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