Chasing Tiger, Brian And Devin

August 13th, 2015
Rookie returner Kaelin Clay. Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Rookie returner Kaelin Clay. Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Once upon a time, legendary Redskins return man Brian Mitchell took the opening kickoff of his rookie career — yes, preseason — and finished the play celebrating a touchdown.

And Mitchell’s impact is still being felt — at Buccaneers training camp.

Without question, the Bucs’ No. 1 returner is rookie Kaelin Clay. The sixth-round pick out of Utah arguably was the best return man in college football last year. It’s Clay’s job to lose, but there are no plans for that.

The skills are there with Clay. He’s 5-10, 195 pounds and ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. And the guy seems to play faster.

What the Bucs are working on is developing Clay’s brain and cultivating a mindset of an elite returner, Clay told Joe yesterday.

Lovie Smith wants another Devin Hester. And Clay has been directed by his position coach, Kevin O’Dea, who coached Hester in Chicago, to study film and the approaches of Hester and Mitchell, plus and the sports psychology of Tiger Woods.

“Hester has been more of a one-cut guy. Brian, his mindset was, ‘Nobody’s going to tackle me. I’m going to run through whoever, whenever,” Clay said. “You know, I’m kind of bigger. I’m not as shifty as fast as Devin, but I’m big and still fast. My mindset is, ‘Use your speed, use your shiftiness, but also use your power.’ Coaches say I can break arm tackles; they’ve seen my strength, and so just a mixture of both — gel both of those approaches together and make it what I bring to the table.”

Clay said the NFL has been a rough adjustment, but he feels comfortable now despite knowing mistakes will not be tolerated. “My coach challenged me, ‘You get one drop, if that, and that’s in pre-practice,'” Clay said. “I’ve been getting better, and I met that goal [Wednesday.]”

Joe has yet to see Clay muff a punt or a kickoff. It’s a good sign.

Clay said he’s not a nervous type and doesn’t foresee any jitters on Saturday night in Minnesota, even if the Bucs’ preseason starts with the ball coming right at him under the lights.

9 Responses to “Chasing Tiger, Brian And Devin”

  1. Ben the GA Buc Says:

    Hopefully the sports psychology of Tiger Woods BEFORE all the affairs came to light.

  2. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    I’m pulling for you Clay. One of the main people I wanna see on Saturday. D@$! If he take it to the house.

  3. Rrsrq Says:

    I’m loving and hoping this is the best rookie class ever for the Bucs, I’m hyped to see them in action, even the RFA that were signed, Go Bucs

  4. The original "Kevin" Says:

    Maaaaaaaaaaaan….THE BUCS ARE BACK. BABY WHOOOO!!!!!!

  5. iamabuc Says:

    OMG! Football is here already, finally! It’s been a long six months, but the wait is over; and this year, we got Jameis Winston, so the abuse with Tampa is over, believe me, I have a good feeling this year will be diferent. Rejoice!

  6. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Yes,time to pay a bunch of mofos back.

  7. drdneast Says:

    The sports pzychologh of Tiger Woods?
    So you want him to learn how to pick up every 20sumthin waitress serving breakfast at Dennys and how to bail out of contests when you have no chance of winning.

  8. Pickgrin Says:

    Saw Clay take a kickoff to the house on Tuesday at practice. Nice cut in traffic and then off to the races. If this guy can consistently hang on to the ball – I think he is going to be a very good returner.

  9. LakelandBuc Says:

    I’m looking for great things from Kaelin Clay this season.