Print Friendly Version Convert to PDF Convert to RTF Related Assets
06 May 2017

Transcript: Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2017 Rookie Mini-Camp Media Availability (5/6/17)

Below is a selection of Tampa Bay Buccaneers quotes from today’s earlier media availability:
Head Coach Dirk Koetter
Linebacker Kendall Beckwith
Safety Justin Evans
Running Back Jeremy McNichols
Defensive Tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu
(On if he has a better sense of specific players following Day Two of mini-camp)
“Well, when you have 50-something guys and everything is new to them – we’re just trying to evaluate. Again, the draft picks that are practicing – four of the six draft picks all look good. There’s other guys, there’s a lot of guys that look fine. It’s hard when you’ve got this many guys learning new stuff. Today was smoother than yesterday.”
(On if he sees the potential for any tryout players to make the final roster)
“Well, some of them are free agents. We’re full at 90 and then we’d have to trade some guys out for a try-out guy. We’ll be having some meetings with that in the next couple of days. It’s just – I think just in general our roster is deeper than it was a year ago. I think it’s getting tougher and tougher to make it. When you start thinking about, ‘Yeah, we’d like to have this guy, but who do you want to let go?’ Not so easy, I know Jason [Licht] and his guys are watching practice and thinking the same thing. There’s some guys that maybe a year or two ago might have had a better chance, but we’ve got a deeper football team right now than we did a year before.”
(On if the roster depth is a nice problem to have)
“It’s a nice problem if it ends up with more points on the scoreboard on Sundays.”
(On how wide receiver Riley Cooper looks to him)
“Well, you could tell that he’s played. You can tell that he’s played in the NFL and he’s played for a while. These guys – obviously when you bring guys from a whole bunch of colleges and they’re a little bit nervous, and they’re learning a new system, I mean, he’s played football in the NFL. That stands out for sure.”
(On if he would consider wide receiver the most improved position in terms of depth compared to last season)
“Maybe, it’s definitely up there. Safety looks a lot different than it did a year ago because of free agency and because of the draft. Tight end looks a lot different. We’ll see. It’s just too early to make any too big of predictions about that.”
(On what safety Justin Evans brings and what he’s seen so far from him on the field)
“He brings range. He moves like a corner. We’re just in shorts and helmets, but he shows up quick at the line of scrimmage on his run fits. He’s going to have to be a little more vocal – we need our safeties to communicate more – but his athleticism and his range definitely in a passing-type camp are going to show up.”
(On if he’s noticed anything about the draft picks on the field that he hadn’t seen before)
“I would say no, just because again you’re in shorts and helmets. Playing real football – plus two of them [aren’t] out here – I mean, Stevie [Tu’ikolovatu] is not going to show up. Stevie in a camp like this isn’t going to show what he can do, because we’re trying to keep people off the ground and his game is creating piles.”
(On if defensive tackle Stevie Tu’ikolovatu will miss time before the next Buccaneers camp due to his academic schedule)
“It’s not all schools out west. No, he’s not.”
(On if rookies have academic schedules that will cause them to miss time with the Buccaneers)
“We don’t have any guys. There’s a couple try-out guys that if they stayed – but other than that, none of the guys that we’ve signed will have to miss time.”
(On if any players stand out to him as an option to fill the kick/punt return role)
“On their college tape, I mean, Justin Evans didn’t have a lot of tries but he had a really nice average. And then Bobo Wilson is a guy that’s got some return value. The first thing that a return guy has got to do first is make the 53. It’s going to be hard to make the 53 [-man roster] strictly as a return guy. You’re going to have to have a combination, so we’ll take a look at a few of them.”
(On if anything jumped out at him about wide receiver Bobo Wilson while watching his Shrine Game practices)
“No. To be honest with you, I was watching tight ends the day I was at the Shrine practice to be perfectly honest.”
(On if tight end Antony Auclair has been on his radar since the Shrine Game)
“Yeah. I mean, I’m very surprised that he wasn’t drafted. We had him with a draftable grade and we feel very fortunate to get him. You look at him and O.J. [Howard] standing right next to each other, two really good looking guys.”
(On what he’s seen from wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp)
“I think we have eight receivers out here working and some of those guys have been with us. We’re just a little bit deeper at receiver. We’re going to take 11 guys to training camp and it’s just a tougher group to crack. I think of the tryout guys we have here, a couple of them look good but I don’t know if it’s going to be good enough to get them in the 11.”
(On if he’s heading into camp thinking that the Bucs will have five receivers on the 53-man roster)
“Too early to tell on that because we’ve got a lot of ball to be played. Injuries will play into that. Injuries, when you get through the preseason, that’ll shake that out. Jason [Licht] is really good, we’ll figure out how to keep the best 53. You might have some guys on PUP, when are they coming back from injury? There’s just a lot of things that have to go into that.”
(On how he feels being back out on the field)
“Yeah, it’s nice. It’s great to be on the grass, weather man cooperated. This weather has been great. It’s funny, you can tell the coaches – the offseason for the coaches is long because we’re up in those offices all day instead of on the grass. The coaches like to coach, so it’s fun to be out here.”
(On if wide receiver Chris Godwin could play in the slot)
“Sure, we play Mike Evans in the slot sometimes. Everybody can play in the slot. Typically, when you’re talking about a slot receiver you’re talking about a smaller, quicker guy. You have all kinds of different looks, you’re trying to get the defense to show you coverages. When we drafted Chris, it was with the anticipation that he could play all three spots.”
(On if anything has jumped out at him about Godwin seeing him play on the field)
“Yeah, he’s a good route runner. He can stay low to the ground, he keeps his pads down. He’s smart, he’s got a good look in his eye. He carries himself well, his body language. He’s also a confident guy, a well-spoken guy. You could see why the coaches at Penn State said such good things about him.”
(On if he still views offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch as a guard)
“He’s going to have to play both. We are deep at the inside three, we’re not so deep at tackle. Benenoch is going to be a guy that – George [Warhop] trains all those guys to play multiple positions but Benenoch’s going to work at both right guard and right tackle.”
(On his recovery from injury)
“It’s going really good. I’m feeling pretty good right now. I’m just trying to do a good job of following the trainers’ lead.”
(On how tough it is for him to not be able to fully participate in practice)
“It’s tough. It’s definitely a little boring sitting back watching because I’m such a competitor, but it’s just a process. I’ve got to take my time with it and hopefully I’ll be ready.”
(On the guidance he expects to get from linebacker Kwon Alexander)
“Oh yeah, definitely. He’s like a big brother to me. He always has been. I’m expecting him to help me out if I need it.”
(On his interaction with Alexander leading up to and after the draft)
“Well, like a week before, we were talking about Tampa. I was just asking him things about Tampa and things like that, not knowing that they were going to draft me or whatever. I was just asking him all kinds of questions. He was talking about the meeting rooms and talking about everything. Just telling me how everything is and how much he loves it out here and lo and behold, they drafted me. He called me going crazy, very excited. I was too, man. It’s a special thing. I’m just happy to be back with him.”
(On interest from the Buccaneers prior to the draft)
“I took a visit here. One of my visits was to here, but the visit went really well, but still, you never know with the draft process. So, I didn’t expect too much, but I guess they like me.”
(On his ability to stop the run)
“Yeah, most people would classify me as a hard hitter, but I try to mold my game as an all-around safety. [Coaches] wanted you to play numbers to numbers, but you try to play sideline to sideline in your head, so that’s what I’m working on, so that’s what I’m trying to show out here.”
(On learning how to be more vocal in the Buccaneers defense)
“For sure. Playing free safety, not only do you need to know what you are doing, you need to know what everybody else is doing. So, you’ve got to make all the calls, all the checks. So, [coaches] definitely want me to be more vocal, but that just comes with me learning the system and knowing it like that. In due time I’ll have it.”
(On whether he was vocal on defense during his time at Texas A&M)
“I’m not like a vocalized leader, but on the field at A&M, I was definitely vocal with all the calls made, all the checks. So, it’s not new to me. It’s just the fact that I’ve got to learn it all myself before I can start telling everybody else what to do, but it’s coming though.”
(On the hardest part about the transition to the NFL)
“Football is football, so everybody runs the same coverage and same schemes or what not, but it’s really just the verbiage. What we call it, they totally different. So, you’ve just got to memorize all the verbiage and all the terms and slang that they use.”
(On his role at free safety with the Buccaneers)
“If that’s how it works out, I guess the quickest way on the field for me. I’ll play free, strong, nickel or whatever, it doesn’t matter, but as for now, I am at free safety.”
(On how frustrating it has been to not take part in practice)
"It's hard just having to watch everybody, but at the same time I've just got to trust the process and get back when I can."
(On when he might be able to return to the field)
"Hopefully before training camp."
(On how exciting it has been just to start working with the coaching staff)
"It's super-exciting. It's a dream come true. Just being to be able to live a dream is pretty [great] and I'm just excited to be here."
(On how much he has picked up so far)
"It's like all mental preparation. I'm in the playbook a lot, trying to get down the plays as soon as possible, just learning."
(On what makes learning a new playbook difficult)
"It's hard. It's like learning a new language. At the same time, the troubles I had at Boise State [learning the playbook], I'll run into the same ones here and eventually I'll learn. So I'm not really worried about that."
(On how he compares to fellow Boise State and Buccaneers RB Doug Martin)
"I feel like me and him are different and the same on certain levels. I don't really know how different we are. That's for you guys to say."
(On comparing to Martin as a pass-catch)
"I'm pretty confident in catching, but Doug's a great player and I looked up to him, being a running back in the league for a while."
(On some players not liking to be compared to other players)
"I want you to guys to look at me as Jeremy McNichols, but of course everybody is comparing the numbers and the height, the weight, things like that, the same school. I don't really get bothered by that."
(On pass-catching and pass protection being strengths)
"Yeah, especially pass-pro. I take pride in protecting the quarterback and not letting anybody touch him."
(On the transition he made from wide receiver to running back)
"It was difficult at first, just the physical aspect. You're getting hit more and it's more physical at running back than receiver. But I think me playing receiver really helped me to transition to running back, just because I feel like I can line up anywhere on the field and have an impact."
(On having fellow Boise State rookies Johnathan Moxey and Thomas Sperbeck in the same camp)
"It's really great. We're out here, former teammates for the last three years. It's really nice to have some familiar faces here working with you."
(On former Boise State and current Miami Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi being a mentor)
"Jay's like a big brother to me, has been since I got to Boise State. He's been with me through the whole journey, still. I was just with him a couple days ago. He just says, overall, 'Make sure focus and most importantly make sure you get the playbook down. Just do what you've got to do. You're here for a reason.' That's what I learned from him."
(On the pronunciation of his last name)
(On if his teammates have picked up how to say his last name)
“They just call me Stevie T. Only some of the coaches attempt it. As far as right now, I’m just Stevie.”
(On some of the most important things for him to work on this weekend)
“Work my hips and get great footwork. That’s the biggest thing.”
(On if he believes he’ll be able to pick up the playbook quickly)
“Yeah, I believe so. Everything we’ve learned so far here is kind of a mixture between Utah and USC, so it was fairly easy for me. I know there’s a lot more so I’ve just got to study my books and just do a good job.”
(On how much he’s looking forward to learning from the team’s veteran defensive tackles)
“That’s the biggest thing I’m excited about. Gerald [McCoy] texted me after I got drafted, telling me, ‘Welcome to the team’ and just, ‘Come ready to work.’ I texted him back and told him how excited I am to learn from all of them. They’re the best in the game – there’s nobody else better to learn from.”
(On if he’s had the chance to meet McCoy or defensive tackle Chris Baker yet)
“No, I haven’t met any of them. Well, I do know Sealver [Siliga]. I played with him back at Utah so I’m excited to work with him. So, it’s kind of – not like home, but home at the same time.”
(On the sacrifices he made to get to the NFL and what this opportunity means to him)
“The sacrifices have paid off and I’m just glad that I followed through with that prompting that my wife and I had because every hardship you have, the reward is worth it. I’m just happy and grateful.”

< back