Racing To Develop Akeem SpenceJuly 31st, 2013
In addition to rehabilitating veteran studs for Week 1 readiness, the New Schiano Order also is fast-tracking a rookie for opening day, projected starting nosetackle Akeem Spence.
Spence’s development is a race against time, Greg Schiano acknowledged today.
Joe asked Schiano to comment on whether Spence’s notorious feats of strength are showing up in practice film and how he’s progressing. The leader of the New Schiano Order said Spence is playing strong and a is major focus of his staff.
“He’s made some big improvements, even from his college tape as far as technique and stance and hands. Yeah, he’s got a lot of upside. The problem is we need that upside to be soon. We’re trying to accelerate it in every way we can. And he knows that,” Schiano said.
Yes, Joe trembled a little when Schiano used the word “problem,” thought it may have just been a figure of speech.
Spence is getting high marks from the guys across the line from him.
“He’s going to be a good player. He already has the leverage battle won on most people with his height,” Jeremy Zuttah said today. “He’s extremely strong – 500-pound bench, cleans the world, all those things. It’s about getting out here and getting comfortable and we’re confident in his ability.”
Ted Larsen said he likes Spence’s “tools” and said he shows an affinity for an unnatural position. “He does his job well. It’s not everybody’s natural position. Playing that tilted nose, it can really be a weapon.”
Yes, the Bucs have depth at nosetackle with Gary Gibson and Derek Landri, but Spence, a fourth-round pick, is the guy they want.