Chip Scoggins: 'Youngry' Buccaneers' turnaround is job won

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 18, 2011 - 11:55 PM

After a miserable first half, Tampa Bay responded to a simple request from its coach to beat the Vikings.

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Tampa Bay's Arrelious Benn (17) caught a 25-yard touchdown pass while being defended by Cedric Griffin (23) in the fourth quarter, Benn's only catch of the game.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris didn't burst through his locker room door at halftime Sunday and kick over a trash can.

He didn't rant and rave, or threaten to find new players. He didn't take a blow torch to his game plan.

Instead, he delivered a clear and succinct message to his players after they trudged through the first 30 minutes like zombies.

"The drastic adjustments was 'Do your job,' " Morris said.

Wait, that's it? Do your job? There had to be more to it than that because the Bucs looked dead in the water. Except worse.

"Do your job," he reiterated.

Sounds simple, but the young Bucs took it to heart with a second-half performance that left the Vikings stunned and their fans irate. Like a kid on a teeter-totter, the Bucs went from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs to escape Mall of America Field with a 24-20 victory.

"We couldn't have played worse in the first half," Morris said. "Arguably our worst half of football since I've been the head coach."

That was being generous. The Bucs looked so overwhelmed and disjointed that you'd think the final score was a misprint if you turned the game off at halftime with the Vikings leading 17-0.

The Bucs managed three first downs and 62 total yards in the half. They treated Adrian Peterson like he was wrapped in "handle with care" stickers, allowing him to rip off 83 yards rushing. Their offensive line was jittery because of the crowd noise and Jared Allen's pass rush.

They were a complete mess.

"That's how the NFL goes sometimes," tight end Kellen Winslow said. "[Morris] challenged us to stop being soft and go out and play like men."

Do your job.

"Honestly everybody thinks we made these big adjustments," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "We didn't. He said stick to the game plan and we did our thing."

They staggered the Vikings with a flurry of punches at the start of the second half. They held the Vikings to three-and-out on the first series, needed only two plays to reach the end zone on their first possession and then successfully executed an onside kick.

The Bucs didn't convert the onside kick into points, but the momentum had vanished from the Vikings sideline. Everything flipped at that point. The Bucs got their running game on track with LeGarrette Blount. The defense swarmed to Peterson, holding him to 37 yards after halftime. They became the aggressors while the Vikings stumbled along with sloppy play and poor decisions.

"We were fortunate to wake up in time," quarterback Josh Freeman said.

Freeman acted as their alarm clock once again. He completed 15 of 20 passes for 191 yards after halftime to guide yet another comeback. He's now engineered eight fourth-quarter comebacks in his 26 career starts.

That's a dangerous script to follow, but Freeman is one cool customer. He didn't even look rattled after throwing a horrendous pass to Winslow that was intercepted by safety Husain Abdullah in the end zone in the third quarter.

Freeman just shrugged it off and kept churning.

"What am I going to do?" he said. "There's nothing you can do. Once you throw it, you've thrown it. I just had to go out and find a way to do better the next time."

Freeman remained calm even when the Bucs trailed by 10 points with less than 10 minutes to play.

"Three words: I love him," receiver Preston Parker said of his quarterback.

The 23-year-old Freeman is the poster child of this young, talented team. The Bucs have 35 players who are 25 years old or younger on the roster. Morris coined the term "youngry" to describe his squad -- young and hungry. He waved off the suggestion that a young team occasionally will play like the Bucs did in the first half.

"No, youngry was the second half," he said. "The first half was badly."

Morris preaches to his players to never blink, regardless of the circumstance. The first half tested that mindset. Morris insists he wasn't mad at halftime though.

"There's no such thing as mad in this game," he said. "My job is to motivate. Hopefully I motivated those guys to come out in the second."

Just a friendly reminder to do their jobs.

Chip Scoggins • chip.scoggins@startribune.com

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Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 0 1st Qtr 10:05
Miami 0
Baltimore 0 1st Qtr 10:28
Houston 3
Detroit 0 1st Qtr 9:48
Chicago 0
Cleveland 0 1st Qtr 9:12
Carolina 0
Atlanta 3 1st Qtr 11:15
New Orleans 7
Green Bay 0 1st Qtr 10:30
Tampa Bay 0
Kansas City 0 1st Qtr 9:10
Pittsburgh 3
New England 0 1st Qtr 9:44
NY Jets 0
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Orlando
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Washington
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Detroit
Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 12 2nd Half 15:48
Virginia 48
Maine 6 1st Half 15:58
Army 2
Ferris State 3 1st Half 17:01
Bowling Green 5
San Francisco 8 1st Half 16:42
Cleveland State 3
Oregon State 17 1st Half 11:12
Quinnipiac 12
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Canisius
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Radford
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Winthrop
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
Evansville
FIU 1:30 PM
Hartford
Goshen 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
Montana
ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 29 2nd Half
Denver 37
St Marys-CA 33 2nd Half 16:18
George Washington 44
TX-San Antonio 39 2nd Half 12:45
Nicholls 32
Portland State 30 2nd Half
Columbia 37
Tenn Tech 39 2nd Half 11:13
Morgan State 42
SMU 18 2nd Half
Auburn 35
Quinnipiac 46 2nd Half 18:39
Hartford 35
Hofstra 34 2nd Half
Boston College 26
Eastern Washington 38 2nd Half 13:40
Georgia Southern 29
Rhode Island 12:00 PM
Bryant
Liberty 6 1st Half 15:12
(1) South Carolina 9
Fairleigh Dickinson 16 1st Half 13:12
Brown 14
Buffalo 9 1st Half 14:18
Long Island 8
Bucknell 4 1st Half 16:39
Mount St Marys 8
Stony Brook 6 1st Half 14:52
Wagner 7
FIU 7 1st Half 16:22
Wofford 4
Duquesne 2 1st Half 17:09
Providence 5
Maine 15 1st Half 12:46
William & Mary 7
Alabama State 2 1st Half 15:53
Samford 8
TX-Pan American 3 1st Half 15:26
VA Commonwealth 4
South Dakota St 5 1st Half 17:42
Marist 9
Saint Josephs 10 1st Half 13:27
(5) Notre Dame 9
Radford 6 1st Half 16:33
Virginia Tech 7
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
TCU
Evansville 1:00 PM
IUPUI
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Chattanooga
Princeton 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Rider 1:00 PM
Binghamton
SC State 1:00 PM
Clemson
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
Colgate
South Alabama 1:00 PM
UAB
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Navy
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NJIT 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Davidson 1:00 PM
Charlotte
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Florida
Wright State 1:30 PM
Purdue
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Alabama
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Bradley
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Drake
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
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2014 preseason     
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