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Monday, September 21, 2009

Olson era off to great start running Bucs offense




Greg Olson, left, became the Bucs offensive coordinator just 10 days before the season opener against Dallas last week.

By IRA KAUFMAN

September 18, 2009

TAMPA - The Greg Olson era is two weeks old and no one has any gripes, except for the twins, Kenneth and Grayce.

Daddy's never home.

Tampa Bay's new offensive coordinator is logging major hours at One Buc Place, and judging by the results of Sunday's opener against Dallas, it's time well spent.

"I've always liked Greg as a person, and I'm glad he got this opportunity," Bucs right tackle Jeremy Trueblood said after Tampa Bay rolled up 450 yards in a 34-21 loss. "He did a heck of a job in Week 1. The guy knows what he's doing, and the communication was excellent all day."

Olson was hired as quarterbacks coach last year and was promoted Sept. 3 when the Bucs fired Jeff Jagodzinski only 10 days before the season opener.

Now, he's responsible for devising a new weekly game plan while helping his quarterbacks implement the details.

"It was tough on him," said Byron Leftwich, who wasn't sacked or intercepted against the Cowboys in posting a passer rating of 89.1. "All that week he was running around. I know he wasn't getting much sleep at night because his responsibility changed - just like that. For us to go out there and play the way we played offensively is great."

Only six times in franchise history have the Bucs gained more yards than they accumulated against the Cowboys, who led the NFL in sacks last year and came away dazed and confused.

"They were making plays early," Dallas linebacker Bradie James said. "We were moving around and they were gashing us a little bit. We had to make some adjustments."

Although he had served as an offensive coordinator with the Lions and Rams, Olson was not interviewed by the Bucs following the dismissal of Coach Jon Gruden, who called all the plays for seven seasons.

Despite the 26 first downs and a plan of attack that had the Cowboys off balance all day, Olson isn't satisfied with his debut effort.

"Obviously, not good enough," he said. "Our goal on every series is to score touchdowns, score points, and we didn't get that done. But the overall execution, the mechanics, were good for the first time out. It's exciting, and I feel blessed to have this staff. When the switch was made, they bought into it as well."

Apparently, Olson has company in the wee, small hours.

"I believe (offensive line coach) Pete Mangurian spent the night here Tuesday," Olson said. "I really enjoy coaching the position (quarterbacks). With the added responsibility of coordinator, it means I have to work more hours."

As the Bucs head to Buffalo this weekend, Olson has quickly earned the respect of a young offense.

"Coach Olson did an excellent job of making sideline adjustments," wide receiver Michael Clayton said. "You see his charisma out there and it's real exciting. The communication was great from the press box to the sideline."

Olson showed a strong commitment to the ground game and mixed up his pass plays as Leftwich found 10 different targets among his 25 completions.


"They kind of went out and created an identity last week," Coach Raheem Morris said of Olson's dynamic opening statement. "Now they have to live up to it. A standard is set when you continue to do it."

Olson said he will be adding pages to the offensive script over the next month as he plays catch-up following Jagodzinski's abrupt departure.

In the meantime, his slimmed-down version worked quite nicely on opening day.

"We never felt like we were ever stopped," Olson said. "We just kind of stopped ourselves a little bit. We felt like we kind of had Dallas' number, so to speak. We knew what they were doing and we knew how we wanted to attack them."

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