Bucs Hired Warren Sapp’s Old Coach

February 8th, 2011

As many of you may know by now — Joe was in meetings and away from a computer with other work and Joe-related duties — the Bucs hired a pair of defensive line coaches.

First is Keith Millard, a former first round pick of the Minnesota Vikings who the past seven years has been a defensive line coach for the Broncos and Raiders. When with the Raiders, he was Warren Sapp’s position coach.

Here is a snippet of his bio courtesy of the Bucs:

While with the Raiders, Millard helped Derrick Burgess to two Pro Bowls, including his 2005 season in which he led the NFL in sacks with 16. In 2007, Millard coached two defensive linemen who ranked among the AFC’s top-10 in sacks (Burgess and Chris Clemons). Millard also helped the Raiders rank third in the NFL in total defense and first against the pass in 2006 while coaching Warren Sapp, who led all defensive tackles in sacks with 10.

As a member of the Broncos coaching staff, he helped the team to two top-five finishes in total defense (2002 and 2004) and also coached a pass rush unit that finished fourth in the NFL in sacks by a defensive line in 2004, as they were the only team to have three players with at least 8.5 sacks (Bertrand Berry, Trevor Pryce and Reggie Hayward).

Obviously, since the pass rush for the Bucs last season was, at times, slightly less than woeful, the key hire here is Millard.

Below is a training video that Millard put together. Two things jump out: Millard reacts with glee to a camper using an illegal head slap. That’s cool! The not-so-cool element is seems the guys rushing are popping up too quick which basically surrenders leverage to an offensive lineman.

On Millard’s website, he has the following nugget that piqued Joe’s interest:

Keith’s reputation has always been in successfully developing players who have the athleticism and the potential, but don’t fully understand or put into action the most effective concepts and techniques.

The Bucs have wanted a teacher, an instructor as an assistant coach and per this video, they may have found one on the defensive front.

The second coach the Bucs hired is Grady Stretz from Arizona State. Below is a piece of his bio, again courtesy of the Bucs.

Stretz, who will specialize in the running game, comes to Tampa Bay after spending the previous five seasons as the Defensive Line coach at Arizona State University. This past season, he helped the Sun Devils rank 16th nationally and first in the Pacific-10 in rush defense (119.7 ypg) and eighth nationally and second in the Pacific-10 in tackles for loss, averaging 7.4 a game.

Hopefully he can help Roy Miller develop but the strange thing in this hire is, why would a guy leave a college gig for an NFL gig when there’s very likely going to be a work stoppage and perhaps no season? College coaches are guaranteed work.

Or maybe Dennis Erickson really is in hot water in Tempe?

31 Responses to “Bucs Hired Warren Sapp’s Old Coach”


    Keith Millard, your 2011 savior/scapegoat. Time will tell.

  2. MOBucs Says:

    Along with a D quality control coach, it looks like we have our new coaching staff! Let’s get to work boys!

  3. MOBucs Says:

    Been doing some research on these new coaches and I like what I have found. Millard was an all-pro DT in the 80s and posted 18 sacks one season! As Joe said, he coached Sapp in Oakland. Sapp thinks the world of this guy, stating how he is one of the best coaches he had ever played for. He went on about his ability to teach young and old players new things to keep them at the top of their game. I am loving this hire more and more. Stretz doesn’t have the NFL credentials that Millard has but had great success stopping the run in college. Dom seems to be sticking to his words when he first got this gig. Get a franchise QB. Keep him upright. Get after the passer. These new additions to the coaching staff and a couple new DEs this spring will put us right on track for the upcoming season.

  4. Blake Says:

    Joe, don’t the coaches get paid next year either way?

  5. Gatorbuc15 Says:

    Pretty good hires IMO. Hopefully they make our D-line a viable threat next season.

  6. BamBamBuc Says:

    “Obviously, since the pass rush for the Bucs last season was, at times, slightly less than woeful, the key hire here is Millard.”

    Not so fast, Joe. Although getting after the passer was, at times, abysmal last year, the Bucs were still much better against the pass than against the run. I would say that the hiring of Stretz is equally as important and maybe even more “key” than the hiring of Millard. I’m kinda thinking that Millard will help the guys generate better pass rush by being more of a “teacher” and technique guy, but Stretz may be the one that puts them over the top. Shutting down the run is key to making teams one-dimensional and forcing them to play into your strengths (in this case, our pass coverage and potentially pass rush).

    Just a thought…

  7. Pete 422 Says:

    I like the fact they have 2 coaches to each work on the run and pass respectively. Obviously these two will work as a team and Dom think they will work well together. That tells me they are quality people who are all about the team and not themselves. I didn’t even know Keith Millard was coaching. I remember him and enjoyed watching him play.

  8. jEsTer Says:

    I agree with BamBam the more important hire might be Stretz.Sounds like he might be like a D cord.I disagree about making a team 1 dimensional, we will do that by scoring alot and often.The Colts suck at run D and yet Peyton makes other teams play from behind.

  9. espo Says:

    BamBam, I think our being better at pass D than rush D isn’t saying very much. Its also a testament to our secondary holding their assignments, because I don’t recall getting close to opposing QBs very often.

  10. Capt.Tim Says:

    If Keith coaches like he played, it’s a great hire. I hope both of them work well together with this talented bunch of kids. Don’t give up on Crowder and Bennett just yet either. Both are really young, and showed talent. From what I’m reading, sounds like They did their homework on these coaches. Gentlemen- welcome to Tampa and the Pirate nation! Good luck, we are trusting valuable treasure in your hands!

  11. Bucbeliever Says:

    The most important part: 2 d-line coaches…goin’ back to basics!!!

  12. Hunter Says:

    It’s interesting, on Millard’s website, he listed the players he has/works with and Brian Price is one of them…….

  13. scholty Says:

    Love what I’m reading about the new coaches so far. Am sure they asked Sapp about his opinion – cause he got one on EVERYTHING.

    Why leave college? Simply add a line into the contract that says – in case of work stoppage salary will still be paid. Case closed.

  14. Bucbeliever Says:

    Sapp’s quote:

    “Keith Millard is one of only two coaches (Rod Marinelli) who has the knowledge and skill, plus the temperament to coach, teach and prepare the defensive lineman of today’s NFL landscape. Those looking for a teacher as well as a fellow hunter to attack offenses, just take a look and I guarantee you will love what you see. It was a pleasure to work with Keith for 3 years.”


  15. BamBamBuc Says:

    Actually, the pass D we had last year said a LOT. It said we have a pretty good secondary that can maintain coverage and create turnovers even without pressure from the D-line. Stopping the run, and forcing teams to throw into our coverage is huge. If Millard can then get these guys to get even a bit more pressure than we had last year, the secondary will take even more advantage of that. To show how important it is to stop the run, look back at the 09 Carolina game. We took the lead with 8 minutes left in the game, but the Panthers proceeded to run an 8 minute drive on the ground (all but one play I think). They scored and won. They weren’t worried about coming back to win, they knew they could run the ball and prevent us from getting the ball back into the offenses hands. Stop the run, force the opponent to throw into our coverage, and do our best to get more pressure on their QB. It’s an effective strategy.

  16. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Sounds like a pretty good hire. Seems like they took their time to make sure the got the right guy(s). It does kind of shoot holes in the theory that the Glazers don’t want to pay anyone, since I’m pretty sure it is more expensive to hire 2 coaches instead of one.

  17. Tuggz Says:

    2 D-line coaches and a quality assurance coach hire. let’s hope this doesn’t turn out to be a case of too many chiefs, not enough indians.

  18. Patrick Says:

    what do ya’ll think about DE/OLB Von Miller from Texas A&M? Dude’s a beast. If he’s available at pick 20 maybe we should take him.

  19. Capt.Tim Says:

    Did alot of reading on these guys. Feel real good , especially Millard. Sounds like EXACTLY what we need. Let’s get him here, and get the young lineman in. Give them some techniques to practice during the lock out.

  20. Guest#27 Says:

    Von Miller is rated as the #1 LB in the draft. The Bucs would have to trade up to like #7 to draft him. He’s a beast though. Akeem Ayers would be a LB that is closer to #20, but even he may go at #15.

    The two d-line coaches are very nice pick ups it seems. Not too many Chiefs at the line. Those guys need all the attention they can get. It’s gonna be a big group this year with all the hybrids too. Besides, it will take two D-line coaches to get Raheem’s attention that he can’t keep running 3-3-5’s and still expect a rush defense and a pass rush.

  21. Lucas Jackson Says:

    These guys must suck if they are willing to work for Morris!

    — Thomas 2.1

  22. marcus Says:

    Lucas Jackson

    “These guys must suck if they are willing to work for Morris!

    – Thomas 2.1”

    ohh man dont get these boyz started on you bro. LOL..

  23. Fire Greg Olson! Says:

    What’s the over/under on how many times Guest 27 brings up Akeem Ayers between now and April 22??

  24. gruss222 Says:

    Great quote and high praise from Sapp published in a local St. Pete fish wrap:

    “They put me on the phone with Dominik and I told him to hire this man,” Sapp said. “You’ll never have a problem with him. He’s not looking to become a head coach. He’s nothing but a workaholic. You think he doesn’t know the Cover 2 (defense) or the three technique? He is the original. It’s always been him, John Randle and me. I was with the man. I know a hard worker. I worked for (Rod) Marinelli.

    “I told (head coach) Raheem (Morris) I don’t know what you’re thinking, but if you’ve got a defensive line position open and want somebody to work with a young guy like Gerald McCoy, Millard is the guy. I’ve done everything I can, but I don’t have the time to really teach the kid. This man I played under and he gave me 10 sacks with the Raiders as a 32-year-old. This is the man you got to hire.”

  25. oar Says:

    Yep, that’s the guy I was wondering about yesterday on another thread. Sounds like a good hire to me.

  26. Guest#27 Says:

    Akeem Ayers

    6-4 255lbs RS Junior

    He is that big AND fast… as a junior… what???!!!??? Oh yeah.


    2008 – 40 tackles, 12 Assisted, 5 TFL, 4 sacks, 3 Passes Defensed, 1 Forced Fumble, and 1 Blocked Punt

    2009 – 73 tackles, 21 assisted, 12.5 TFL, 5 sacks, 3 Passes Defensed, 4 INTs, 2 TDs, 2 Forced Fumbles, 1 Fumble Recovery, 1 TD

    Simply put, Akeem was a beast last season for the Bruins. He is very quick and tracks down ball carriers like a bloodhound. Is very alert and always around the football. Ayers is already big, but he could potentially add 15 pounds, maintain his speed, and play at defensive end full time as a pass rusher. Or he could stay as is and be a very talented SAM in a 4-3 or an Rush OLB in a 3-4. He has put up great numbers so far, but his best football is still ahead of him.

    There is so much talent and potential in Akeem that if he can keep improving as the focal point and leader of the UCLA defense, he will go early when he declares.

    Projected Round:
    1st Round


  27. McBuc Says:

    Great hires! Thanks as well for the Sapp quotes everybody.

  28. IBleedPewter Says:

    Hunter, I was going to mention the same thing about Brian Price. I know Price missed a lot of last season because of his hamstring injury, but I seem to recall Morris stating Price was just about ruining practices because he was playing like a beast. Makes me wonder if that was because of the training he got from Millard. If that is the case, we could be in for a fun year in 2011 on the Defense.

  29. Dave Says:


    Just try to remember one thing – me, you, and everyone else here and most the NFL coaches……….

    Have NO IDEA who is going to be good and who is going to bust.
    It is a crap shoot.

    What we do know is the BUcs management the past 2.5 years seemt o be doing a damn good job bringing in talent and coaches. There have been some mistakes but they addressed them quickly and moved forward……….. unlike most NFL teams and past coaches here whose ego’s were too big too admit mistakes.

    Ayers may be a beast, but personally, my motto in a draft is always: get as many picks as you can and play the odds. I would rather have 7 picks or more and have 3-4 be a success than trade up and have 5 picks and only have 2 be a success.

    In another year or two they could affrod to do that when they are just tweeking the roster but right now they need to fill holes and you do that with quantity. when there are no guarantees.

  30. Dave Says:

    I can not say I love it or hate it because, like everyone else, I have no idea who these guys or how they will coach with the young Bucs.

    I do know Sapp loves the guy and had a few more productive years under him at the end of his career. I also know that ASU has been known for defense for years.

    That’s it, that is all I know except what I read. So I could say: GREAT HIRES!”

    But, I really have no clue.

    Based on the D-Line play the last 4 years…. it can’t be any worse.

  31. tha truth is... Says:

    yeah boy!