Spence Talks Development, Pedicures & MoreDecember 12th, 2013
Unlike for Michael Bennett, Joe doesn’t hear Bucs fans moaning, groaning and yearning for departed starting nose tackle Roy Miller. That’s because rookie Akeem Spence has done strong work in the NFL’s nastiest job.
Joe caught up to the 2013 fourth-round pick yesterday to talk about pass rush skills, million dollar contracts, pedicures, getting weaker — yes, weaker — and more.
JoeBucsFan.com: How do you think your pass-rushing skills have improved specifically since you got to the Bucs? Out of college in the fourth round, you weren’t known as a pass rusher at all but Bucs coaches say you’ve surprised them?
Akeem Spence: Basically, just getting here and learning about the tilt and some things that it does possess to help me with pass rush, such as stepping with my up foot and getting my hip into the gap sometimes and just beating the center straight up field by just getting my hip into the gap and ripping. And then you know off of that just countering centers with counter moves and stuff like that. And also just being in that tilt sometimes guards come down hard and I’m able to club them by and then be able to get up the field. So just small things like that, learning little things I can do. Most of the time I’m [double-teamed] so just trying to press the pocket. I’m working off of Gerald a little bit because sometimes he beats his guy so quick that I got to cover up for him because he comes all the way across the center.
Joe: Any teammate or coach or teammate you want to give extra thanks to for tips and teaching?
Spence: I can’t give it all to one person. [McCoy] helped me out. Also [defensive line] Coach Melvin. But it’s like a group effort because we all sit in a room. We all talk about it. We all watch each other on film. I get help from [Gary Gibson] and other guys.
Joe: How much better pass rusher are you now from where you were in Week 1?
Spence: If I was going back to college I’d be a double-digit sack type guy I would think. (laughs)
Joe: Even in that same scheme at Illinois?
Spence: Even that same scheme. I’ve learned so many more things I could do on guys.
Joe: You wish you could do that? Go back and come out with 12 sacks, be a first-round pick and make millions?
Spence: Definitely. Definitely. Everybody would think I’d be a great pass rusher, which I’m not.
Joe: You’re the Bucs’ strongman in the weight room. As far as the toll of being a rookie late in the season, do you feel worn down, have you gotten weaker?
Spence: I’ve kind of gotten weaker. Because of my wrist, I haven’t been able to lift the way I want to. So it’s just more maintenance as of now. Bodywise, I felt worn down a little bit, but then I had to take it upon myself to do things, such as going to get massages, starting to eat a lot more healthy. Just making sure I’d eat and get adequate rest. So you know, when it started hurting I had to the things that are positive for it, such as pedicures. Just simple things, man.
Joe: Do you really get pedicures?
Spence: I really do.