The Norman Transcript

National Sports

June 12, 2014

Bucs Pro Bowl DT McCoy eager to learn new defense

TAMPA, Fla. — Gerald McCoy walked off the practice field, dripping with sweat and smiling. His mood got even better when he began talking about the revamped Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Pro Bowl defensive tackle has emerged as one of the NFL’s best at his position over the past two seasons and anticipates continued growth in the scheme the Bucs will play under new coach Lovie Smith.

McCoy had 91⁄2 sacks in 2013, more than doubling the total he had the previous three seasons combined. But his team has yet to make the playoffs since he entered the league as the third overall pick in the 2010 draft, and that bothers him a lot.

“That’s eating away at me, man. I do all this training and preparing, trying to do what I can for my team for us to get to the playoffs. I just want to experience it,” the 6-foot-4, 300-pound team captain said after a two-hour workout during the team’s three-day mandatory mini-camp.

“The great thing about this team is we have a lot of players who have playoff experience. We have more than one player who’s been in the Super Bowl, coaches who’ve been in the Super Bowl, coaches who’ve won Super Bowls, players who’ve won Super Bowls.”

That begins with Smith, who led Chicago to the Super Bowl during a nine-year stint as the Bears’ head coach. The new boss also was an assistant with the Bucs under Tony Dungy, the original of the Tampa 2 defensive scheme that became one of the league’s most imitated systems in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Smith is installing his version of the Tampa 2, and McCoy expects to benefit — much the way Hall of Famer Warren Sapp did while playing the same position under Dungy and later, Jon Gruden, when the Bucs won their only Super Bowl title.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Indians trade Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    CLEVELAND — The Indians had little choice but to give up Justin Masterson. The trade doesn’t mean they’re going to surrender the season....

    July 31, 2014

  • Cowboys sign tackle Smith to 8-year extension

    OXNARD, Calif. — Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo....

    July 31, 2014

  • Quarterback questions abound with big stars gone from SEC offenses

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league. Big names, not so much....

    July 31, 2014

  • Jones says Brent out of rehab, NFL question next

    OXNARD, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says former defensive tackle Josh Brent is out of rehabilitation and could have his future with the NFL resolved before the team leaves training camp in California in two weeks....

    July 31, 2014

  • Ives to crew chief for Dale Jr. in 2015

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There was no shortage of candidates to replace Steve Letarte as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief The list of applicants was long, but Hendrick Motorsports has always liked to groom its own talent. So the organization ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Gustafson wants Gordon’s team focused on Chase

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Jeff Gordon viewed his Brickyard 400 win as a turning point for his race team. Confidence had been building with every strong run, but his victory at Indianapolis Motor Speedway pushed his crew to another level. It was ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Mercury not thinking streak

    Brittney Griner and the Phoenix Mercury are closing in on one of the greatest records in WNBA history, the Los Angeles Sparks’ 18-game winning streak. To equal that mark, the Mercury need to win two more games, starting with defending ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014