Gruden Speaks: He remembers Walsh

In today's edition of Gruden Speaks, the Buccaneers head coach talks about his relationship with former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh, who died on Monday.

Yes, there was actually more going on at practice on Tuesday morning besides Chris Simms.

There was Bill Walsh.

Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden took plenty of questions after Tuesday's practice about Walsh, the creator of the West Coast Offense that is the basis for the offense Gruden uses in Tampa Bay.

Walsh revolutionized offense when he arrived in San Francisco in the late 1970s from Stanford. He created an offense based on short and intermediate passing routes, which were used to open up the running game.

Walsh coached the 49ers to three Super Bowl championships, and his top assistant — George Seifert — piloted the Niners to two more after Walsh retired after the 1988 season.

Walsh died on Monday after a long battle with leukemia.

Gruden is a second-generation disciple of Walsh's philosophy. Gruden learned it while working under current Seattle head coach Mike Holmgren, when the pair were in Green Bay from 1992-94. Gruden was an offensive assistant, and later a wide receivers coach, for the Packers.

Holmgren worked directly under Walsh and Seifert in San Francisco.

"Being ahead of the time is what really set him apart," Gruden said. "It was a great experience to be educated by people like that and I'll miss him."

Gruden developed a relationship with Walsh over the years, a relationship that became so strong that he could call him anytime he wanted, and Walsh came to a Buccaneers practice to speak to players and coaches in 2005.

"He gave us feedback," Gruden said. "He was the first guy, I think, to practice in the regular season in shorts. He just did a lot of things that at that time were exclusive to the 49ers.

"Some of our players, like Alex Smith and Julian Jenkins, worked with him while he was at Stanford (as an adviser). He left a legacy and made an impact on a lot of people."

Want to read the entire Jon Gruden transcript from Tuesday's press conference? Click here.

Matthew Postins covers the Buccaneers for and the Charlotte Sun-Herald in Port Charlotte, Fla. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. Included among his more than two dozen writing and editing awards are national awards from the PFWA, the National Newspaper Association and the Associated Press Sports Editors, and state awards from the Florida Press Club and the Florida Sports Writers Association, for his coverage of the Buccaneers since 2004.

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