Father Dungy Vs. Lovie SmithMay 6th, 2014
Joe knows a lot of people point to Father Dungy as the North Star of Lovie Smith. In some ways, Lovie is the ultimate disciple of Father Dungy.
In fact, it was Father Dungy who brought Lovie from the college ranks to be an NFL assistant and Derrick Brooks’ and Hardy Nickerson’s position coach.
Lovie, like Father Dungy, believes in a run-control game with a punishing defense. Their demeanors are so much alike: quiet and confident.
Joe had a chance today at the Derrick Brooks number retirement/Ring of Honor announcement to chat briefly with Lovie. Mostly small talk and pleasantries. Joe walked away thinking, “What a kind, gentle man Lovie is.”
But Brooks believes Bucs fans should tap the brakes thinking the Bucs have Father Dungy 2.0 in Lovie. Brooks points out this is 2014, a far cry from the Bucs in 1996.
“He’s a more experienced coach than what Coach Dungy was [in 1996], after nine years (with the Bears),” Brooks said. “It is very different. They had very different teams. Coach Dungy had a defensive-built team, which he had a big hand in. Later, we built an offense. Lovie [when he took over the Bears] had neither, but he built a great defensive team. Now he is coming here. What kind of a team will he have? I am anxious to see. What is going to be the identity of this football team the second time Lovie Smith is a coach vs. the first time? I am anxious to see.
“I think I feel about Coach Smith is the right guy for our franchise now, aside from X’s and O’s. I feel good about Lovie. You talk about consistency and a way of doing business that has gotten lost over the years. It really has. How you go about doing it. All of those things have gotten lost and cannot be defined. What is the “Buccaneer Way?” Now I think you can have an answer, a visual of what that is. And that is what I think he brings.
“Is that going to turn into Super Bowl championships or 12-win seasons? I don’t know. But I think that Coach Smith, being the right guy at the right time, gives us a good start.”
Brooks emphasized that when Father Dungy was hired, it was pretty much a blank easel; Father Dungy had never been an NFL head coach before. Brooks noted that coaches evolve and Lovie could be very different than his Chicago days.
Brooks also pointed out the Bucs have more talent on the roster now than Dungy had when he took over the Bucs in ’96.