We’ve said it here on the site many times, Gerald McCoy skated by at Oklahoma on raw talent. Just go back and look at the film and you’ll see an athletic monster tearing through Big 12 offensive lines with no real regard for technique or fundamentals.
Then McCoy hit the NFL where the baseline talent level is much higher than in college and suddenly that lack of technique caught up with McCoy. That’s not to say he hasn’t been good in his first two seasons, actually in spite of lacking polish McCoy has still rounded into a very good defensive tackle and was vital to the Bucs 4-2 start (as well as a big part of their 0-10 finish when he got hurt).
I have a feeling year three is going to be a lot different for #93 thanks largely in part to his new coach.
“We do a tackling circuit before every practice, and I’ve never done anything like that before,” McCoy said of Greg Schiano’s weekend minicamp. “I realize now that, before, I was just playing football. Now, I’m really learning how to tackle and I think it’s going to help me a lot.”
It’s OK if your first inclination is to laugh at that. I did. I mean, Bob Stoops must have read that and cringed. The most famous tackling drill in existence is actually called the Oklahoma drill, McCoy was an All-American at the University of Oklahoma and he claims he just learned how to tackle over the weekend…
But once you get past the fact Gerald McCoy basically just admitted he phoned it in during two-a-days at OU, this is exactly what a player like McCoy needed.
The talent and potential are there, that’s been obvious since before the Bucs drafted McCoy, he has the part of the game that you can’t teach. So it’s probably good that the Buccaneers have finally gotten around to teaching him the rest of it. He’s going to learn the rest now though, the Bucs have hired a guy who will make sure of it.
Greg Schiano, as Ronde Barber puts it, hammers home fundamentals.
This was a team last year that squandered potential on sloppy play and mental mistakes. I think we’re gaining a keen insight into why Mark Dominik wanted Greg Schiano. Dominik believes in the work he’s done on the personnel side of things, he’s brought in several talented draft classes and added free agents from the waiver wire and now (this offseason) from the top of the heap.
He just needed someone to actually coach them.
Raheem Morris, a player’s coach, wasn’t that guy. Being a player’s coach works on a veteran team. When the Giants talk about what’s worked with Tom Coughlin lately, it’s a subtle move towards a more player-friendly approach. Coughlin is never going to be laid back, but he relaxed a little and gave the team some room to breathe, it paid off. The difference is that was a veteran bunch with a lot of experience under their belt. You can afford to do that with an older group.
This group in Tampa needs a guy to stay on them. They need that direction and discipline. This group hasn’t earned a player’s coach yet.
That’s why Kellen Winslow’s comments were so absurd. Of course K2 liked Morris, not only did Raheem traded for him and pay him handsomely, he also didn’t make Kellen Winslow practice for three years. Winslow didn’t want to go because he felt Morris was slighted or Schiano was a bad guy. Hell, K2 knows Schiano from college and his time in Cleveland should have taught him this league is a business.
No truth be told after coasting for three years and only turning it on during gamedays, the idea of suiting up and getting back to fundamentals didn’t appeal to Winslow.
But that’s what this Bucs team needs, it’s what Gerald McCoy needs and it’s going to pay off sooner rather than later.
Greg Schiano is going to turn this group into professionals.