Buccaneers coach Sam Wyche answers questions from Tampa Bay area football fans.
Money isn't everything
Q: Do you feel that you will be given the money you'll need to compete for the high-priced, high-profile free agents who are going to come on the market?
_ Mike Mulholland, Tierra Verde
A: It is not a matter of absolute dollars, but how well dollars are spent. We were the only team in football to sign a free agent who went on to earn All-Pro honors last year in Hardy Nickerson, and we hope to be as fortunate again. For all the spending teams did last year, it was still the same two teams in the Super Bowl and many of the same teams in the playoffs. In most cases, it is a matter of a lot of hard work by a lot of different people _ not just money.
Q: The defense improved a lot during 1993. With free-agency looming, will you work hard at keeping the defense intact?
_ Jason Lang, 17, St. Petersburg
A: To me the development of any unit in football is a matter of keeping continuity, but still making changes in an appropriate balance. Our basic defensive nucleus in 1994 should be similar to last year, but there will be changes in personnel as well. That is always true in football and especially so with the increased player movement brought about by free-agency.
Q: My son is interested in coaching. Are there any books you'd recommend?
_ Bob Miller, St. Petersburg
A: Not really. The last way to learn how to coach is from a book. I would recommend that he attend coaching clinics put on by top coaches.
Q: Is it really hard to coach the Bucs football team?
_ Brian Orloff, 9, Safety Harbor
A: Coaching in the NFL is hard, but hey, it's hard to coach any athletic team. I started out coaching a peewee team in Greenville, South Carolina, and that was hard work, too. But I'm not complaining. It's what I love to do.
Q: Why do the Buccaneers consistently have such a tough schedule?
_ Jamie Hill, Tampa
A: The schedule is determined by a formula, so no individual has any control over the opponents from year to year. I know we sure seemed to catch more than our share of tough teams last year. But no schedule in the NFL is easy. Every team in the NFL is extremely competitive. Last year struck me as an especially competitive and unpredictable year. The records of some teams varied significantly over the course of the season. New Orleans was the best team in the league in September, but by the end of the year teams like New England and ourselves were more formidable.
Q: What do you do in the off-season to prepare for the next year?
_ Kevin Williams, St. Petersburg
A: We're busy with a lot of things. We've already been to the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine, and between now and April 24th, our principle focus will be on the college draft. But we also are going through a constant period of football study. We will be meeting to revise our offense and defense, as we do each year, and then in May we will have a month-long series of pretty intensive workouts for our veterans. In June the rookies will be in for their indoctrination period. It is not the same pace as the season, but there still is a lot to do.
Have a question for Sam Wyche? Just call our Hey, Coach line at 892-2368 ((800) 333-7505, ext. 2368 outside the Tampa Bay area) and leave your message, name, age and hometown. We'll run the best questions and answers on an upcoming FANFARE page.