Where Are The Mentors?

May 7th, 2010
Clifton Smith calls Warrick Dunn his mentor

Clifton Smith calls former Buccaneer Warrick Dunn his mentor

Joe’s written many times about the troubling lack of leadership on the Bucs, which is magnified by the team getting younger and the brass openly relying on rookies to turn around the club.

Raheem The Dream expounded on the leadership issue last week (only written about on JoeBucsFan.com).

Former Bucccaneer defensive end Steve White, a JoeBucsFan.com analyst, addressed leadership on The Fabulous Sports Babe Show on 1040 AM yesterday. He expressed that the Bucs might be relying too much on coaches to take on the hands-on role of mentoring often reserved for veteran players.

“It just happens. Leaders show up when it matters. Leaders are those guys who show up and produce. Leaders are going to develop,” White said. “The coach can tell you how to do something, but can he really show you? When Arrelious Benn and Michael Williams have trouble in the middle of the year. Who are they going to turn to?  When [Brian] Price and [[Gerald]McCoy hit a wall and the media’s on them. Where do they go?….Where are the shoulders that these guys are going to lean on?”

White shared his memories of defensive tackle Booger McFarland being a student of Brad Culpepper before emerging as a starter with 6 1/2 sacks in his second season.

White shared similar concern for Josh Freeman not having a veteran to turn to.

Ironically, in another great video interview on Buccaneers.com posted yesterday, Clifton Smith talked about his career goals and his mentor.

“I also want to also be able to stay in this league 10 years plus. You know, have the succesful career. You know, my mentor, Warrick Dunn. I want to pretty much [model] my career after his.” Smith said. 

From those comments, it’s obvious Dunn clearly influenced Smith during his stunning breakout rookie season in 2008.

Joe wishes the 2009 rookies had the advantage of a Warrick Dunn type at their respective positions.

17 Responses to “Where Are The Mentors?”

  1. Eric Says:

    The horse left the barn on that when they cut 55. They have no use for experienced players except the one with the giant guaranteed contract.

  2. bucfanjeff Says:

    True leaders will emerge and if you are a good character guy, a hard worker, you will find the appropriate resource to lean on.
    No worries.

  3. JimBuc Says:

    Eric — I actually flew home yesterday with #55. Great guy. I am a huge fan. I am actually planning a trip to Canton for #55. That said, in sports players have to lead by example. It is very unusal for a team leader to be someone other than a guy that contributes on the field. As much as I love #55, his playing days were over.

    I agree, however, that teh Bucs could be hurt this year by a lack of leadership.

  4. Eric Says:


    I suppose I will have to defer to Mr. Brooks on that issue. Not sure he could have harmed the 32nd ranked run defense.

    Being an FSU alum, I have met him quite a few times also, and he is a great guy.

    Deserved better.

  5. d-money Says:

    This is what warren Sapp had to say about mentoring players a while back..


  6. YearOBucsfan Says:

    Who is “mentoring” the Rays players? Most of the team is under 30. Same with the Bucs. Guys will step up. Ruud should step up as MLB. He has been here a few years, and calls the defense. Kellen Winslow has been in the league, and of course Rhonde. I wouldn’t worry so much about leadership. This is when guys step up, it is an exciting time. Even though Freeman is essentially a rookie, he can be a leader.

  7. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    YearOBucsFan – C’mon. The Rays are stacked with a mix of veterans who played in a World Series a couple of years ago. Can’t compare.

  8. d-money Says:


    ALthough I agree with you that younger guys will emerge as leaders your Rays argument doesn’t hold up.

    The Rays Have….

    Carl Crawford 8yrs, Carlos Pena 9yrs , Gabe Kapler 11yrs, Pat Burrell 10yrs, Dan Wheeler 10yrs , Dionner Navarro 6yrs to name a few….

    But also as proof that young guys can be leaders I think most would agree that Evan Longoria is quickly become the #1 leader of that team

  9. tampa2 Says:

    Why would Ruud or Winslow want to be considered the veteran leader. They’ve seen what happens to veteran leadership here at one Bucs place.
    Unlike football teams of yore, Raheem & Company just want to kick the veteran to the curb. Then again, how’s that 3-13 philosophy doin for ya, Raheem?

  10. Mr. Lucky Says:

    You guys are sooooo old school.

    Leadership, mentors, veterans….get real. That costs money dudes!

    The Bucs are a BUSINESS first and foremost. When the bean counters can put a price on leadership it becomes irrevelant.

    This is the “new” NFL – put up or shut up. Come to the table prepared to produce or go home.

    Who cares about a winning record as long as the team is profitable?

    Right JoelBuc?

  11. Formerbuc Says:

    Gotta agree with Jim’s take on this. As much as I’ve learned from D Brooks, (I love the man), but his playing days are def. over. The proof is in the fact that no one signed him all last year. That said, i’ll also say this..when this team was built from the doldrums in ’95 there was one key element that was more important than Dungy, Brooks, Sapp, or Jerry Angelo. His name was Hardy Nickerson. He learned under some incredible linebackers in Pittsburg (Greg Lloyd, Kevin Greene to name a few)
    Having Hardy was no different than having a John Randle or a Ray lewis on your team..you gotta set a tone on the field. He was the spark! It’s a 60 min battle, and it’s not a game for pu$$*&@. Youve gotta have guys to rally around, and who keep order on the field. Coaches can bark from the sideline, but they can’t play.
    Hardy brought a sort of “exuberant leadership” which manifest itself in the film room, on the practice field, and in Tampa Stadium. He made D. Brooks who he was. Got in his a$$ when needed.
    There are only two guys with enough field vision before the snap and experience that can be on the field leaders. Ronde Barber and Barrett Ruud. Who else is gunna do it? It is a big concern I have for this season. I’m really hopeful Barrett grows a pair this year. It’s not just about his play. Dude can play! It’s getting 11 guys to play as one. In this D if one guy screws up, there’s little contingency. Someone’s gotta have there thumbprint on the field, and it can’t be a rookie!

  12. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Formerbuc – I’ve looked at your writing here for a while. Feel free to e-mail Joe if you want to share who you are, if you’re not just playing the role of former Buc or stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. joe@joebucsfan.com. (No imposters please. Joe knows the registered e-mail of FormerBuc

  13. BamBamBuc Says:

    I gotta agree with FormerBuc here. It’s gotta be Ruud that steps up. Nothing against Ronde, but I think it needs to be from the line or linebackers (otherwise I might think T-Jack could be vocal enough). Ruud has got to be the vocal leader of the D this year. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Ruud isn’t happy for the 2nd straight year to not get his contract extension done and be playing for a RFA tender offer. He’ll play hard to get a good deal in FA next year, but he’s not gonna be the leader of THIS team.

    That said, I guess we’ll have to hope that Ronde (or maybe T-Jack or Talib can step up and be the vocal leader).

  14. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Didn’t you guys read that Huggins is the new team leader?

    I’m sorry but this is an area where the Bucs will suffer and it really an’t be measured. This is where the close games will be lost. As or Barber and Ruud being team leaders – they’ve both had enough time and haven’t done it. What makes you think 2010 will be any different?

  15. BamBamBuc Says:

    Ronde never had to before, he had Brooks and Lynch and Sapp. That’s not saying he can’t, just that he never had to.

    I don’t see Ruud stepping up because of contract issues and I think he wants to move on next year. Why be the “leader” of a team you’re not gonna play for?

  16. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    Mentors are overrated unless we are talking about children.

    There are grown men….all they need is good coaching. How about we start there?

  17. YearOBucsfan Says:

    Holy crap! I actually agree with Radio Mushmouth! It is a Mother’s Day Miracle!!