TAMPA — They say a man's eyes are the windows to his soul, but Jeff Tedford isn't going to let you peek into his windows.
Tuesday, the Bucs offensive coordinator's eyes were obscured by black tint and hiding behind Nike sunglasses. Only the structure of Tedford's offense has undergone more concealment since he was hired in January.
Although the workouts during organized team activities have been open to the media one day per week as mandated by NFL rules, there has been an element of secrecy surrounding certain aspects of the offense Tedford brought from Cal.
Is it just up-tempo or no huddle? Do they operate primarily out of the pistol formation or the shotgun? Are they going to spread teams out with five receivers or run mostly one back, two tight end sets?
"I don't know. I think most teams are prepared for anything, to tell you the truth," Tedford said. "So I don't know how much of an element of surprise there will be. There's nothing earth-shattering about it. Everybody has different tempos that they go at, so there's nothing earth-shattering about it. Football is football. It's about matchups and getting things done with personnel and making sure we put people in the right positions and execution. That's what it's about. … Obviously you need to keep people off balance in certain phases of the game and we'll try to do that, but there's really nothing earth-shattering about anything that's going on."
Perhaps not, but the NFL has been turned a little on its axis by the migration of spread offenses and mobile quarterbacks from the college game. The Seahawks' Russell Wilson, the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick and the Panthers' Cam Newton have recently thrived.
Former Oregon coach Chip Kelly brought his up-tempo offense to the Eagles and in his first season it finished ranked second to the Broncos in total yards with 417.2 per game.
"I'm very familiar with (Chip Kelly's offense) because we played against it every year in the Pac-12," Tedford said. "So I was not surprised by their efficiency and their success because he does an excellent job of doing what they do. I think you can see through the NFL that more and more teams are incorporating it a little bit more."
Tedford did reveal a few basic tenets Tuesday. Start with the fact that he believes more in a running back by committee approach. "I think you have to alternate," he said. "Even when we had two 1,000-yard rushers (at California), J.J. Arrington was a 2,000-yard rusher and we had a couple times guys had 1,000 yards apiece. But I don't believe that one back can carry the load. It's just too physical. I think you probably need to have two to three guys to bring different things to the table.''
Two years ago, when he led all rookie rushers and was voted to the Pro Bowl, Doug Martin had 368 touches. But Martin can expect a considerably lighter workload this season. The Bucs drafted West Virginia running back Charles Sims in the third round and return Mike James and Bobby Rainey.
Stay updated on Tampa Bay’s sports scene
Subscribe to our free Sports Today newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Speaking to the media for the first time since being hired in January, Tedford had other interesting takes:
On 34-year-old quarterback Josh McCown: "Josh McCown is one of the truest professionals I've ever been around, as far as just an unbelievable leader, so knowledgeable, puts in extra hours every day studying film."
On first-round pick Mike Evans and the offense-exclusive draft. "(Evans) showed the first couple days he's a real talent. No doubt about it. He made a great catch out there right in the middle. I thought the ball was probably 10 yards overthrown and he made a one-handed catch, put it away and just kept on running. So we have those guys on the outside with Vincent (Jackson) and him and when (Austin Seferian)-Jenkins gets here he bring another tight end with some range and some size."