Liam Coen And The Run Game

June 19th, 2024

Run game recent history.

Joe knows a bunch of fans are hoping, praying the Bucs run the ball better.

Based just on new offensive coordinator Liam Coen’s last two seasons with two different teams on two different levels of football, it doesn’t appear the Bucs will magically turn into the Steelers.

Coen offenses of the Los Angeles Rams and the Kentucky Wildcats didn’t run the ball well.

Back in 2022 with the Rams, Los Angeles wasn’t much better than the league’s worst rushing team, the Bucs (1,308). The Rams that season were 27th in rushing, racking up 1,661 yards on the ground.

When it came to yards-per-carry, the numbers were pretty consistent. The Bucs were dead-last at 3.4 yards a carry. The Rams (28th) had 4.0 yards a carry.

Last year at Kentucky, it was a mixed bag for Coen and the Wildcats rushing attack. As a team, Kentucky was third-last in the SEC with 1,660 rushing yards. However, Wildcats running back Ray Davis was a horse. He was fourth in the SEC with 1,129 yards on the ground, averaging 5.7 yards a carry.

A couple of other Kentucky running backs had a solid rushing average backing up Davis.

So no, it doesn’t appear on face value that Coen will be confused with a ground-and-pound coach. But with the Bucs having the league’s worst running attack the past two years straight, anything is an improvement.

29 Responses to “Liam Coen And The Run Game”

  1. adam from ny Says:

    remember the “run rojo run” play…?

    i’m hoping we can say “run bucky run” a few times this year

    or “go bucky go”

  2. heyjude Says:

    Nailed it, Joe and Pete. Optimistically, it will get figured out and will be improved.

  3. Hodad Says:

    It starts up front, then you need a good back. We drafted Barton, and Irving, still have White. Mauch, Goedeke, even Wirfs should be better with a year under their belts at their new positions. Our rushing attack, and I believe our edge pass rushers are going to surprise a lot of Buc skeptics this season.

  4. Leighroy Says:

    My minimum expectation is for the offense to be more unpredictable that a fan 3 sheets to the wind watching on his TV can’t predict run-run-pass for a 3-and-out.

  5. Dude Says:

    One of the other UK RBs was Ramon Jefferson and he’s on the Bucs 90-man roster right now.

    I’m expecting Coens approach to the run game to be varied, but I’m also factoring in all the elements of the run game needing time to gain confidence once the regular season starts.

  6. Beeej Says:

    I’d be happy with the line not going backwards on a 3rd and 1 play

  7. Bucsfan Says:

    RB position group is woefully short of quality competition-sign ROJO.

  8. Buc4evr Says:

    I’m hoping that Coen uses the pass to set up the run and is not stuck on pounding the ball every first down. Think his offense will be a lot more complicated than Canales’ was.

  9. Cardiac kidz Says:

    Our middle of the offensive line is improved over last year. I know we can’t get any worse than we we’re, so yeah; I’m going to say we move up from 32nd. Call me an optimist.

  10. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Bucsfan Says:
    June 19th, 2024 at 7:37 am
    RB position group is woefully short of quality competition-sign ROJO.
    Rojo hasn’t been “quality” for the last 3 years.

  11. Kb Says:

    We can’t get a lower rank, but can certainly be worse.

  12. Mark A Swygert Says:

    If ROJO were competent, he’d already be on somebod’s roster. He was, at his best an average runner, but with below average blocking and receiving skills. No thanks.

  13. Scotty Mack Says:

    Seems to me that when his teams DID run the ball, they were at least average – certainly better than the Bucs have been. They just passed more than other teams. Seems like the right way to go with the Bucs. All of our major talent is in the passing game.

  14. Dave Pear Says:

    Barry Sanders isn’t on a roster currently. Neither is Marshall Faulk.

    Sign RoJo, LOL.

  15. Jeffs grandpa Says:

    Rojo’s best days are behind him as a football player pass

  16. Ol' Boy Says:

    Love it when a woman says nailed it…

    Prickly Pete calls Graham Barton for the center of the line. Sai has Brederson to the LG. And Joe is still waiting on pads. Haha

    I’m just wondering about the tight end position at this point. Hope otten went to blcoks-r-us camp in the off-season.

    Why has Liam’s run game been hovering over the bottom? I haven’t watched any film but it’s a good question and what can be done about it here. We aren’t asking for much Liam, let’s get ranked 20th this year. You can do it!!

  17. Joe Says:

    Prickly Pete calls Graham Barton for the center of the line. Sai has Brederson to the LG. And Joe is still waiting on pads. Haha

    Yup. Joe wants to see offensive linemen at least put their shoulders into someone first. There’s no blocking (or hitting) in underwear football. None. Zee-row.

  18. BucsfaninOregon Says:

    With all the potential RBs out there, some are calling for ROJO. That’s just plain dopey. He was marginally OK at best. He gone!

  19. catcard202 Says:

    When judging Coen’s 2023 Kentucky rushing attack, let’s put it in perspective & add a little context.

    In 2023, UK ran the ball the least # of times in the SEC (339x) & yet produced the 4th best yds/carry avg at 4.9yds…& Coen’s play calling splits were 52.5/47.5, pass heavy…Which is pretty much as balanced an approach as you will find in the SEC.

    The big issue for Coen last year in LEX was Pace of Play…Coen’s UK O in 2023 was dead last in the NCAA in PoP @ only 56.1 offensive plays per game.

  20. D-Rok Says:

    Good research, Catcard. So it sounds like Coen will not want to run hurry-up that much. Sounds like at UK he ran more of a “slow-down.”

  21. Dave Pear Says:

    Replacing three matadors with real offensive linemen in itself is bound to add a half yard per carry. Better coaching of the run game, game planning and play selection should be good for another quarter of a yard.



  22. JimBobBuc Says:

    Barton will be a big add in the run game but may take a couple games to get used to the NFL. Otherwise, I’m not sure the OL is much better. I’m not a fan of White running the ball and it sounds like Bucky won’t get many snaps early in the season. So I think the run game will start out slow, unless Coen can call a bigger variety of plays – outside zone, traps, etc. Can anyone on our OL pull and block? We have some easier opponents in the first 5 or 6 games, but can the offense start the season quickly? I hope so…

  23. geno711 Says:

    Very interesting review of the pace of play under Coen’s offense.

    Certainly, the defense will like the slower pace of play. But the key in the end is getting 1st downs and turning them into TDs.

  24. heyjude Says:

    Loving all the Coen views and stats. It is a plus that he is familiar with Mayfield and Wolford. I feel he is going to be a better OC than Canales. I liked Canales but he didn’t seem to be a good fit.

  25. KABucs Says:

    I think the Rojo request was humor/sarcasm, not to be taken seriously.
    What we really need is Peyton Barber!

  26. catcard202 Says:

    To add a little additional layer of context, Under Cohen in 2023 with a slowest pace of play in the NCAA… Kentucky scored 29.1pts a game, 8.6 more than 2022 (20.4pts a game) under Scangarello as OC.

    Going back to 2021 UK under Coen, Cats scored 32.8pts a game….11 more a game vs the 2020 Cats.

    The trend is clear in that Coen finds points at a higher rate than his predecessors.
    Would expect that trend to continue in 2024 with the Bucs…& estimate Bucs reach the 26-27pt/gm threshold that would place them in an upper tier position with serious playoff teams/SB contenders.

  27. Joe in Michigan Says:

    KABucs Says:
    June 19th, 2024 at 3:11 pm
    I think the Rojo request was humor/sarcasm, not to be taken seriously.
    What we really need is Peyton Barber!
    Nah, the same guy wanted Rojo back last year.

  28. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Liam Coen is the main coaching related reason I think the team will do well. I have a feeling he is going to be a very good OC.

    Of course, I know nothing about him and am going strictly by instinct.

    I’m not discounting the players…just talking about coaching atm.

  29. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Concvert a third stringer DT to a half-back and have him pound that line constantly in the first half. Then put in the finesse back.