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Bucs head coach Lovie Smith will assume defensive play-calling in 2015

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He grew up on the defensive side of the football. Now, it will bear Lovie Smith’s fingerprints.

Smith will call the defensive plays for the Tampa Bay Bucs this season, taking over for defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. Smith, a former linebacker coach with the Bucs and defensive coordinator with the Rams, will assume personal responsibility for a unit that finished 25th in the NFL last year.

And why not? It worked so well for Raheem Morris.

Perhaps, with the addition of an offensive coordinator worthy of his trust in Dirk Koetter, Smith felt that he could turn more focus to the defense. Perhaps, with stars such as Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, he wanted to guide the steadier part of the team.

There was no word, naturally, on whether this reflected poorly on Frazier, the defensive coordinator and former head coach in Minnesota. Earlier in the off-season, however, there were rumors that Smith was trying to hire Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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