Hanging With Frank Okam

August 17th, 2011

Yesterday on the last day of training camp, Joe and a small gaggle of reporters got a chance to talk with Bucs defensive tackle Frank Okam. In short, Okam said he is more than happy to not rack up any stats if it helps his teammates and results in wins.

 (Passing thought: Joe thinks Okam talks about the same way that Barry White sings. Deep Texas baritone. Dude could make some cash doing voiceovers after this football thing is over for him. He could be the next James Earl Jones.)

What have you been working on this training camp?

I want to take advantage of every opportunity I get. Right now we’re thin at defensive tackle. I’m a big guy with a big body and I like to clog things up and let the others make plays.

You are not really a pure run-stopper.

That’s the style that Keith Millard is trying to get us to do. In the old Tampa-2, you get up in there and make it happen. This year, the focus is on penetrate and react to the run on the way to the quarterback. That is the emphasis because of the number of sacks we had last year.

Is there something that you have learned from Millard as far as technique?

If you are able to hear us out there on the field, you can hear people saying “Flipping your hips,” which means open yourself up to the man that is trying to block to to set yourself free. A lot of times you have a tendency to go down the middle of the guy not sure what kind of move he is going to make. This is focused on rushing the edge of the guy, rushing the half-man. This is a technique that requires a lot of quickness and being able to read on the move.

Have you been able to adapt somewhat easily?

It’s pretty much what we did in college at the University of Texas. It’s been a while since I have been in a defense like that. It brings out a lot of natural abilities of the guys who played in the Big XII against a lot of those spread offenses there in that league. The NFL is a pass-happy league also. I think that [new defensive technique] translates very well for us.

My old coach at the University of Texas [Mike Tolleson] coached in the USFL and he told me about Millard, he said he coached against him in the USFL and he was a heck of a pass rusher.

How have the lack of two-a-days been?

Length-wise, not different but the wear and tear on your body has been different. In the mornings, we are out in shorts and no pads where you would otherwise have pads. It takes a little bang off of your body. Without having (OTAs and minicamps) we are playing catch-up and Clayborn and Bowers and the rookies are playing catch-up and and trying to learn the techniques that guys in the league already have.

Are you as prepared as your were in years past at this point [of the preseason]?

You know, I was worried about that, honestly. I didn’t know if that would be the case but once we were out there banging with the guys you get your competitive juices flowing and you want to put good things on tape and I think that is what this team’s attitude is.

How about your defensive line, how is that coming together?

I am excited. I think I may be the oldest guy and I’m only 25. Kind of crazy for me to be the oldest guy in the room. We are all just trying to get better. We’re constantly pushing each other and I truly believe the sky is the limit once we figure out what we want to get done and what their role is.

How has your camp gone so far?

I am just working. That’s what my whole philosophy is about. The older you get, the less you worry about that and the more you worry about team. I just want this team to compete and to compete for championships. You put yourself on the back burner. I want to give it up for the team and allow people to make plays. Hey, if I can take on two at the line of scrimmage, I can free someone else up and allow Gerald [McCoy] or Quincy Black to make plays that helps out the whole defense.

20 Responses to “Hanging With Frank Okam”

  1. Macabee Says:

    Sounds like we got us a John Henry – a steel driving man! I like the fact that he has bass in his voice and girth in his loins! I’m getting a little biblical here, but this is a baaaad man and he’s on our side. Go Bucs!!

  2. Espo Says:

    I think he might just be our permanent starter. Gotta love an immovable object helping that run D.

  3. Espo Says:

    Why do you care about the girth in his loins? Ewww

  4. Picked_Off Says:

    The more I read about this guy, the more I like him. As long as he can create that push that has been vacant for so long, I hope he can stay with the team.

    With his size, it’s not just about sacks. If they have to double team him just to slow him down, that will free someone else up. Not sure if he starts, but I don’t know how much better Roy Miller is. Hopefully Price can find his legs and this will be a pretty solid unit.

  5. b.d Says:

    thats what we want to hear!!!

  6. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Well…before anyone starts annointing our D-Line…let’s see what they do against a team that is going to try tomorrow night versus the hapless Chiefs.

  7. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    Looking at that picture the dude really is built like a tree trunk. He’s not just a 310 lb. guy with a 40 lb. gut.

  8. flmike Says:

    Okam is a beast, we saw it in limited play last year when GMC went down, they plugged in Big Frank and he was disruptive, even in our poor D last season. This season, I think he’s our secret weapon, as part of the interior rotation, for a man his size he is quick, and then he’s a load to try and move, I would love to seem him on the nose with GMC at undertackle once in a while just to give the center something to think about.

  9. Mauha Deeb Says:

    Dude is so big, he is always gonna pull double coverage lol

  10. Traew Says:

    He has vaulted into my Top 5 favorite players this season.

    I think he is a bit of a late NFL bloomer – but is going to surprise a lot of people this year.

    Go Big Franklin!!!!

  11. Macabee Says:

    Hey Espo, I mentioned the word girth and your response was “Ewww”. Ewww – not you Espo. C’mon man! Tell me it ain’t so!! lol.

  12. Tampa--->Baaaaaaayyyy Says:

    Frank Okam is my most favortist player of all time! Hands down.

    Even Thomas loves him.

  13. SRQBucFan Says:

    The very first time i seen him get on the field last year. I was amazed. He’s is a Giant amongst Giants.

    I am so happy he is playing well and staying in the mix. We have what, 6 could-be starters at DT and the oldest is 25? Very nice indeed. This guy is a monster at the Goal Line.

    I also really like his attitude about just going out there, Take up 2 men and allow play-makers to make the plays. Cheer Okam!!

  14. SRQBucFan Says:

    I’m starting to see a trend with the coaches here tho… It really doesn’t matter who the start is. At most positions, there is a rotation. Like we have 4 DT and 4 DE rotation, at least 3 safeties, 4 corners, 5 LB’s, etc etc.

    The offense on the other hand. Is starters play most of the game. But the D is all packaged and situation based.

  15. BecklesHeartsRuud Says:

    We may have really found another diamond in the rough here. Okam failed to have any success before he came to the Bucs but methinks teams were misusing him as a space eating nose tackle type. Okam started the New orleans win last year as undertackle in place of McCoy and he had a serious impact on that game. Okam may be pass the eyeball test as a prototype ,huge, runstuffing nose tackle but he is really a 3 technique in a nose tackles body and the Bucs realized that and are making the most of his talents. It just goes to show how much talent evaluation skills this GM\coaching staff have that they saw a guy who had been discounted as a bust and saw his potential in a different role and are now making the most of it.

  16. The D Says:

    Ive heard a few rumblings that he didnt really have a huge love of the game because hes a very smart dude and had some options as to what he wanted to do. Thats why he was a late pick and bounced around a bit. Hopefully we can make him stay

  17. Espo Says:

    Sorry Macabee I have a dirty mind

  18. Dave Says:

    I see McCoy, Miller, and Okam being the main rotation… and Price when he shows he is healthy, in shape and ready to go. I know Price has been playing, but I am not sold on whether he is really ready yet.

    I think this could be a helluva rotation for years.

    With Okam in the middle and Foster behind him, the defense just got LOADS better in short yardage.

  19. Bill T Says:

    Excellent point BecklesHeartsRuud,

    The coaching staff saw something in Frank and went for it. Also, I think being back with teammates Miller and Crowder from his Texas days has been good for his head. By the end of the season, he may be in same sentence with Wilfork and Ngata.

    I just love the way the Bucs keep sifting for diamonds!

  20. SRQBucFan Says:

    Let’s not forget about Al Woods… he isn’t bad either.