Bleacher Report's Jason Cole caught up with Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter this week, getting insight on a wide range of different topics.
One of the more interesting nuggets from their conversation was the revelation that Koetter has tapped offensive quality control coach Andrew Weidinger to handle "game management".
Here's what Koetter told Cole about that role and his decision to delegate such an important responsibility to his young assistant:
Because I'm going to stay as the play-caller, and there are plenty of guys in the NFL who stay as play-callers as head coaches. There are just so many situations that come up in NFL game, whether it's clock management or just game-ending situations, to have someone that they're fully dedicated to that preparation in leading up to the game and on game day made sense.
When I was the offensive coordinator, if I was up in the box, we always had a designated coach on the field that if I said, "This situation is up" and the head coach was on the other side of the phones talking to the defensive staff, that coach on the field would go remind the head coach about this or that. There is so much pressure when that clock is ticking, you have to have somebody who is on top of that and looking ahead.
We're going with a young guy who, between me and [Buccaneers defensive coordinator] Mike Smith, has been around us for like eight years. He's been a quality-control guy, but he knows everything inside and out, and he has a calm demeanor to him.
In a challenge situation, you have 10,000 guys on the phone yelling, "Challenge it, challenge it, challenge it!" You have to have someone who can take all the emotion out of it and answer the question, "Should we challenge it?" Or is it even challengeable? That's what I'm finding to be the hardest part, is it challengeable or not?
We had it that way in Jacksonville, and we had a guy to do that in Atlanta. Both Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville and Mike Smith in Atlanta would basically say, "The rest of you guys might as well shut up because I'm listening to this guy." If anyone mentions anything about a challenge, this is the guy we're going to listen to.
Koetter said even timeout usage on game days will fall under Weidinger's responsibilities:
We didn't do that before, but that's how we're going to do it going forward. I just think the way things have evolved in that area, that's one of the reasons we're dedicating one guy. It's not 100 percent of his time, but that's his main area of emphasis.
Game management certainly wasn't one of Tampa Bay's strong suits under previous head coach Lovie Smith, with plenty of questionable decisions having a significant impact on final game results over the past two seasons. It's intriguing that Koetter would entrust those responsibilities to a young assistant, but it could also free him up to focus on keeping Tampa Bay's promising offensive attack moving in the right direction.
Cole's conversation with Koetter is enlightening in many other ways, so make sure to check it out in its entirety here.
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