It’s The Little Things

August 8th, 2011

Bucs defensive tackles coach Keith Millard works with his pupils earlier this summer in training camp.

Of course Joe is geeked for football to begin now that the asinine lockout is an afterthought. Aside from the obvious — football — Joe is geeked to see the improvement of the defensive line.

Last year the Bucs defensive line was impotent in getting to the quarterback. It didn’t help that Gerald McCoy, once he started to turn the corner tore his biceps and was lost for the season and that Brian Price barely got his career started as he had hamstring muscles torn clear off the bone.

But Joe is geeked for another reason: Keith Millard takes over to coach up the Bucs defensive tackles. Millard, who was hand-picked by no less an authority than former Bucs great Warren Sapp, has already worked wonders with GMC in identifying why he didn’t succeed as well.

Millard is more excitable than the players, he has an effusive, burning passion for the game. Also, Millard told Joe himself that it’s just the little things that the defensive linemen need to improve to be successful.

Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune documented one of those little things. It seems Millard didn’t like how Bucs defensive linemen used “tilted” stances and instead, wants the Bucs to square up against opposing offensive lines.

Gerald McCoy, the Bucs second-year under tackle, is on board with that idea. Already, he said, he is noticing the benefits of the squared stance. He said the tilt stance loosened him up but the squared stance is more effective.

“I’ve been in the backfield a lot more (in practice) than I ever was before, because I’m right there on a guy at the snap and if he overreaches, it’s like, boom, I’m in the backfield,” he said.

“I don’t have to worry as much about being in my gap, because if I take a step and I’m already in the backfield, then they have to decide what to do with me and that’s disruption, and that’s what we want.”

Fellow first-year Bucs defensive line coach Grady Stretz told Cummings that a tilted stance sometimes would take a step and a half away from a defensive linemen.

No wonder the pass rush sucked so bad last year! If an offensive lineman can get at least a step advantage on the snap of the ball, he’s going to own any defensive lineman.

Just having Millard on staff alone should result in the Bucs having 10 more sacks next year.

26 Responses to “It’s The Little Things”

  1. Bucbeliever Says:

    Millard is the best pickup of the off season…

    GO BUCS!

  2. SteveK Says:

    Buc’s DL is going to be a team strength this year.

  3. Danny Says:

    I am most interested in watching the D-line out of any unit on
    the team this year! I agree with Joe, just from having Millard
    coaching these young guys it will add another 10 sacks. The
    unit that I’m worried about is the LB’s.

  4. BigMacAttack Says:

    I agree with all of the above.

    Que Haters……….

  5. Eric Says:

    One more thing to notice Friday night.

    I could be wrong, but I think Culpepper and Sapp used the “tilt”.

    Whatever improves the at best mediocre DL play I am for.

  6. McBuc Says:

    Erioc, I think you are right, but I also think that was one of the changes Sapp made when he went to Oakland. He says the adjustments Millard showed him prolonged his carreer and helped him reach all those sacks. Maybe he would have broken the record if had learned that a few years earlier. Of course, I do not know for sure that this is one of the things Millard helped Sapp with, but it stands to reason. I am with you though, any improvement is welcome.

  7. Bob Says:

    Steve White just twittered saying he had some reservations about this new stance. It might be interesting to hear his commentary.

  8. Gary Says:

    I think its very telling that Millard has pointed out that the technique of our DL players is not up to par. That is step 1 for any coach!

    Another nail in the coffin for Todd Wash. I can’t believe we tried to resign him.

  9. Joe Says:


    GMC said this summer he got a chance to talk to Millard right before the lockout. Millard already had dozens of plays highlighted that GMC had his man beat, but because of crappy technique, he couldn’t finish the play.

  10. Nick2 Says:

    I am fired up too!! Its amazing what a new set of eyes on a situation can bring and Millard is a Pro Bowl set of eyes with alot of sacks on his resume. I do believe this was a huge move in the offseason but production will tell the story. GO BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Chris FWC :) Says:

    I’d love to watch tape with Millard. I love his passion!

  12. SteveK Says:

    Wow, that is great news. I am pumped to see our new D-Line/D-Line Coach in action.

    Definately excited that Todd Wash was not brought back. Our D-Line under him was always just out of the play.

  13. Dave Says:

    Can’t wait to se the D-Line this year. I have a feeling McCoy will get double digit sacks. I also think the two rookie DEs will end up with 6+ each.
    I know that is a TALL order, but from what I have seen and what the new coaches bring, I think it is doable.
    Plus, don’t discount Roy Miller. I would not be surprised to see his game take a massive step forward as well.

  14. Dan Says:

    the article also said, it was the stance Sapp used…

  15. McBuc Says:

    Bob…I am a huge fan of Steve White’s, but Millard was a big time pro and is an active coach. I am always interested in Steve’s take, but on this one I am going to have to trust Millard.

  16. Brandon Says:

    It’s funny how somebody can use a little terminology and somebody else hears it and thinks it is the answer to all of our problems. Guys have been playing tilted and squared up in Tampa for years and you guys think it is going to solve all of our problems because we are “officially” going to be squared up. There’s a lot more to it than that, guys.

    Some of the best interior linemen ever, used tilted stances, some didn’t. There are advantages to both, but us using mostly squared up isn’t going to make us instant sack artists. It’s about putting the completed product on the field ready to disrupt the offense. That means being ready to come off the ball, exploding off the snap, recognizing where the play is going, playing with proper pad level, using the correct moves/technique to beat the blocker, and then opening up their hips to make the play, and finishing. The stance is only a tiny part of that. You guys can be happy all you want with Millard’s lip service, I’ll be happy when I see the results on the field.

  17. HIRE GREG OLSON! Says:

    Funny how every Detroit fan thought they were going to the Super Bowl after a 6-win season. Now they’re first two draft picks are hurt; Leshore for the season.

    We win 10 games with the most rookies ever and our fans question the front office and owners’ intentions.

    Welcome to Tampa…

  18. SteveK Says:

    @ Brandon, great points

    I just think bringing in Millard will offer up some valuable words of wisdom that will help our 1st year/2nd year D-Linemen develop into what we are all hoping for.

    Bringing in the two new DL coaches was a great move, and Brando is right on, results are king.

  19. Dave Says:


    “…and thinks it is the answer to all of our problems. ”

    No post that I saw said that, at all. The guys are just being optimistic about a new coach on the team in an area that lacked last year. Every time we hear a player talk about the new coach showing them a little thing here or there and we sense the player seems fired up about it, it fires us up.

    We all know it is the production on the field during a game that counts and so far the scoreboard reads 0 for everything.

    Just getting psyched up for a yungry team.

  20. Eric Says:

    “That’s called a “tilted” stance and while some players such as Warren Sapp have built extraordinary careers by exploding out of it, the stance is one that has some flaws and drawbacks to it, Millard said”.

    Kind of ironic. Sapp advocates the guy, who changes the stance to one Sapp did not use.

    I suppose its different for each player, based upon skill level.

  21. Gary Says:


    I get your point, results are what matters – cant argue with that. You seem to know something about football, so let me ask you this:

    If Wash was teaching the DL the 2 gap read and react system, why would he be wanting the DL to be in a tilted stance? To me (could be wrong), the only advantage of a tilted stance is that you have a .5 step on the OL trying to shoot the gap and penetrate. What happens when you were supposed to “react” to the other gap?

    I know I am oversimplifying, but it just doesnt make sense to me.

    And Sapp using tilted stance is irrelevant. Great players dont make plays because they used the right stance. Average players can play better using the right stance. Thats all I’m trying to say, Millard sees that.

  22. Eric Says:

    I think we were all kinda hoping that McCoy is a great player.

    Maybe he will be. He was the #3 pick, by Dom.

    Gotta be great.

  23. Gary Says:

    I’m starting to like the new Eric.

    Competent, rational points of view. Far cry from your old self.

    Pay attention 2.2, you are the only fool left in town!

  24. McBuc Says:

    I am pretty sure you are missing Eric’s sarcasm.

  25. passthebuc Says:


    If i hear one more time your refer to it as “that asinine lockout” you will have lost me as a reader. Grow up, get over it and go on.

  26. Joe Says:


    Just to caution you, that term isn’t going away.