TAMPA — Cadillac Williams will make his long-awaited return to the field Thursday night when the Bucs host the Dolphins in their third preseason game — and he'll do so as a starter.
In fact, coach Raheem Morris could hardly contain his enthusiasm at the prospect of watching the fifth-year running back in action for the first time since he tore his patellar tendon in December's season-finale loss to Oakland.
"I'm so excited to get Cadillac back, especially to see him run through holes and explode," Morris said. " …He looks like the old Cadillac."
But Williams, back from his second major knee injury since his offensive rookie of the year season in 2005, was only part of the running back news Tuesday. Morris also shed light for the first time on how he plans to use his arsenal of Williams, Earnest Graham, Derrick Ward and Clifton Smith.
Morris described it as a 2-2-1 system — meaning he will use one running back for two series, another for the next two series and a third for one series. The ball carrier who only handles the single series, however, will pick up extra rushing duties in specialty situations. The rotation will continue throughout the game, but if one player gets hot, Morris will stick with him rather than sub him out.
"I want to keep that rotation if I can throughout the season, or something like that," he said. "With the 2-2-1, I don't care who's (playing) the first two (series), who's the second two or who's the third one. That's like the hot man — it doesn't really matter. You want to have different back situations.
"You may want to have Earnest for short yardage. You might have Cadillac for goal line. You may have B.J. (Askew) for four-minute. You may have Peanut (Smith) for third down. I'm going to mix that in and the person getting the one (series) will make it up in a situational play."
Williams will kick off the 2-2-1 system and he's looking forward to getting back in gear, following an injury that initially cast a cloud over his future. "I should receive a hefty load," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."
Though Williams felt ready to play last week against Jacksonville, Morris insisted that he wait until the Miami game. Now, the coach feels the time is right, and plans a little presentation tonight with the running backs that will feature some vintage Cadillac clips from '05.
"I'm going to show that … and get our team excited," he said. "This tape's pretty impressive."
Williams insists he has no concerns. "That's the last thing on my mind — my knees and stuff," he said. "I'm going to be excited to be on the field and run through the tunnel and see the fans and just go out there and play football."
MORE RUUD & RUUD: Morris sang the praises of linebacker and defensive signal-caller Barrett Ruud, and has high hopes for newly acquired younger brother Bo, too.
"This has been Barrett's defense for a while — since I came back in '07, Barrett was the defense," Morris said. "He called it. He lined everybody up. They go where he tells them to go. If he's wrong, then the other 10 guys better be wrong with him. We definitely lean on Barrett. If Barrett doesn't like something, we're not running it. … He's the quarterback on defense."
As for LB Bo, Morris remarked, "I've been around Bo for about 24 hours now. I love the personality of the guy. I love his swagger. I love what he's about. He looks like Barrett, so hopefully he moves like Barrett and plays like Barrett. We'll find out. I know he's (strong) on special teams and can really help us out."
MISCELLANY: Morris praised the tempo of practice in preparation for the third preseason game, in which starters are expected to play into the third quarter. … Morris said the team is still waiting on word from the league regarding CB Aqib Talib, arrested last week and accused of punching a cab driver.