If there’s one word that Bucs fans have tired of perhaps more than any other, it’s ‘youngry.’ Once coined as a way to describe the miraculous play of the young Buccaneers in 2010, the concept quickly devolved into a culture problem in the Buccaneers locker room. Raheem Morris was many things, including talented (I still believe he’ll be a good NFL coach some day), but he was in over his head in Tampa and nothing illustrated that concept quite like ‘youngry.’
When he first coined the term it seemed like a revelation, a rallying cry for the league’s youngest team. The Bucs came together under Morris’ youngry banner and went 10-6, nearly grabbing a Wild Card spot along the way. Then the bottom fell out in 2011, youngry gave way to immaturity and selfishness, and a young coach became increasingly incapable of reeling his headstrong young team back in. By the end of the season things had become an unmitigated disaster.
That’s something new Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano wants to avoid.
In comments made to Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Trib, Schiano stated that he plans to focus on discipline over youthful energy, both on the field and off.
“It’s important that we’re good role models. I know we’ve had some issues, but as I said, everyone gets a fresh start with me. Hopefully, we won’t have those situations. If we do, that’s my job as a head coach to discipline the situation, correct it. It’s no different than parenting. If you scream and yell, you lose credibility. It’s all about relationships and trust,” Schiano said. “I wouldn’t expect them to trust me right out of the gate. …Why would they? They didn’t pick me, I picked them.”
If that sounds nothing like Raheem Morris, that’s the point.
Morris was younger than his oldest player, his mannerisms and behavior on the sideline rendered him more a part of the Bucs’ team than the coach of it (chest bumps, anyone?) and in the end I think that contributed to him losing his squad.
It’s tough to flip from being one of the guys to being THE guy. After joking around with a locker room full of players, it’s hard to flip that switch and then command their respect like an authoritarian. Last year the Bucs needed their coach to whip them into shape, they needed that authoritarian to bring discipline and Rah had gone too far over the line to be able to step back across it effectively.
Schiano doesn’t seem at risk of making that mistake.
That could be the biggest key to a successful 2012. There IS talent on this Bucs team, it’s just a matter of turning talent into production. It’s a matter of turning prospects into players. That all involves discipline and a focused approach, something Schiano seems intent on bringing to One Buc Place.