Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount’s a teammate of Ronde Barber, but he’s taking a lesson from his brother Tiki.
Blount’s been working on carrying the football “high and tight,” in an effort to cut down on fumbles.
Blount put the ball on the ground nine times in his first two seasons, the same as Tiki Barber’s 2003, which led to the switch.
And with new Bucs coach Greg Schiano preaching fundamentals, the switch seems natural to him now, even though he hasn’t carried that way in a game.
“It’s become a habit,” Blount said, via the Buccaneers’ team website. “I don’t even notice that I do it most of the time. Holding the ball down here [closer to the stomach] is kind of uncomfortable now.”
Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan joined the Giants in 2004, when Barber cut his fumbles to five, and then a single drop the next year. He and the rest of the Bucs staff has been harping on ball-security all spring, something Blount admits he wasn’t expecting to focus on.
“”You have to [focus on it], because it’s overlooked with the talent [in the NFL],” Blount said. “Leaving college, a lot of these guys are the best players on their teams, so they didn’t really have to worry about the fundamentals of carrying the football correctly or catching the ball or anything like that. [Schiano] brought it back. We have our own individual period for ball security.
“You definitely have to learn it.”
If Schiano is as much of a hard-case over fumbles as he is the temperature in meeting rooms, Blount better hope he figures it out. He’s talented, but the Bucs just drafted running back Doug Martin, so Blount’s margin of error isn’t big.