th (1)MIKE SMITH

Mike Smith, former Atlanta Falcons Head Coach and newly appointed
Defensive Coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, met with yours truly
after the initial Pewter Pirates training camp practice.

LH : We’re talking with Bucs Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith.  Coach, you
come to the 14th hole at USF.  Their signature hole, the infamous Claw. A
par 5, 490 yards but a double dog leg.  The first to the left about 170
yards out and the second about another 100 yards back to the right.  What
are you hitting off the tee?

MS : I’m just trying to hit it down the middle of the fairway.  I’m
probably going to hit a 5 wood.

LH :  Have you had a chance to play golf since you’ve been in Tampa?

MS : I’ve had one opportunity.  I played out in Brooksville at Southern
Hills.  A wonderful golf course.

LH : It’s no secret that every team is going to try and double-team Gerald
McCoy.  Can you scheme or align to get him singled up?

MS : When you’re a good player, they are surely going to know where you
line up. What we have to do is do a good job of moving Gerald around.  WE
have to put him in different spots.

LH : Any chance of him playing on the edge?

MS : I’ll never say never.  Gerald’s the guy who’s going to win most of
his one-on-one matchups.  We’re going to do our best, as a coaching staff,
to put him into those situations.

LH : So we could even see him at nose?

MS : I wouldn’t discount anything.  When you’re a defensive tackle, based
on the formation, you’re going to have to line up and play nose as well as
a 3 technique.  Again, we’re going to try and get him in one-on-ones as
much as we can.

LH : McCoy’s best position is at the 3 technique, correct?

MS : Absolutely.  That’s where he’s played most of his career.  We really
have to look at some more options that will get him more one-on-ones.
That way, people won’t always know he’s lining up in the 3 technique.

LH : I know you’ve just had players out in shorts but do you think Vernon
Hargraves is going to be a good player for you?

MS : I think Vernon Hargraves has had a really good camp.  He’s a young
guy but understands football.  He comes from a football family. He
understands X’s and O’s.  The ball seems to find him on defense and I
think, when the ball finds you on defense, you’re going to be out there
playing.

LH : The Mike linebacker has to be a plus for you with Alexander there,
correct?

MS : Kwon had a real solid rookie year.  We expect to see a good jump from
year one to year two.  He’s a very athletic linebacker and I think he’s
getting more comfortable with his role as being one of our lead dogs on
our defense.

LH : Is your defense catching on to your new scheme or is it going to take
time?

MS : It’s going to take some time.  It’s completely new to everyone except
two guys in the room.  There’s going to be a learning curve but I’m very
impressed with their will to learn and their will to go out and compete.
You have that, I think you have a chance to be good.

LH : What position on the defense is hurt the most by the lack of padded
practices?

MS : Definitely they guys up front.  The linebackers and the defensive
line.  Everybody thinks it just the offensive and defensive lines but it
also effects the linebackers in our run fits.  The big thing about fitting
the run is being sound and making sure that you have every gap taken.