November 10, 2012; Berkeley, CA, USA; California Golden Bears head coach Jeff Tedford on the sideline during the third quarter against the Oregon Ducks at Memorial Stadium. Oregon won 59-17. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Speed in Space: Highlights from Jeff Tedford's First Press Conference as Offensive Coordinator

The 2013 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished with the worst offense in the NFL, mainly due to a struggling passing game which failed to consistently move the chains.

Part of the job of the new coaching staff in Tampa will be to turn that offense around, and have it be productive enough to win football games with a strong, Lovie Smith-led defense. That’s a concern for Smith, however, as his Chicago teams always struggled on the offensive side of the football.

That means the task of getting the Tampa Bay offense off the ground rests on Jeff Tedford, the former coach of the Cal Bears and the new offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers. Tedford had his first press conference as a member of the staff on Wednesday, and here are some of the highlights from his comments:

  • One of the biggest adjustments for Tedford in moving to the NFL from college will be the rules and clock management differences between the pros and the NCAA rulebook. He otherwise seemed to be confident in his ability to translate his offensive ability to the NFL, stating that “Football is football.”
  • When asked again about transitioning to the pro game, Tedford said that volume of plays will not be a concern. He loves calling plays, and said he probably had too many plays at Cal because he continued to come up with new ideas.
  • But Tedford stressed that volume of plays isn’t what’s important. He likes to give his players “the answers to the test,” which means preparing them to be a cerebral part of the offense and to know how to handle any situation. Being adaptive and creative is more important than simply having a system and plugging players into it randomly.
  • When talking about quarterback Mike Glennon, Tedford said it’s tough to evaluate him because you don’t know what he was asked to do within the offense.
  • He praised Glennon’s size, poise, smarts and launch point, while mentioning that he has some things to work on as well.
  • But more importantly, Tedford said that he believes pro quarterbacks want to be coached and are hungry to learn. He feels confident in that because he stays in close contact with his six first-round draft pick quarterbacks who have played in the league. That means Tedford will be able to work with Glennon to improve the things he struggled with last season.
  • Finally, and most importantly to Tedford, is the idea of “speed in space.” That was one of the things he repeated throughout the press conference, and something he focused on. Tedford likes to score points and get big plays, but big plays aren’t always the result of deep passes. Getting playmakers in space with the football is key to Tedford, and something Bucs fans should watch for next season.

Overall, my impression from Tedford is that he’s eager to get back to calling plays and gameplanning an offense for the first time in a while, as he had to step away from those duties at Cal to do things a college head coach must do, like raising funds and going about the process of building a new football facility.

He’s got ideals that he’s confident in and that he has proven to make work at the college level, and he seems like a breath of fresh air at the podium compared to Mike Sullivan. Tedford was engaging and loved to ramble a bit about quarterback mechanics and offensive schemes, and even threw in a bit of a joke about some protestors at Cal who lived in a tree outside his office.

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