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Monday, Oct 16, 2017
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Kiffin Remains Coy About Nebraska Job

TAMPA - The Nebraska job remained open Wednesday and Monte Kiffin remained coy. Tampa Bay's 67-year-old defensive coordinator finds himself the subject of daily rumors since Saturday, when the 5-7 Cornhuskers dismissed Bill Callahan as head coach. Kiffin, who was 16-17 while running the North Carolina State program (1980-82), is one of the NFL's highest-paid assistants and he was given an opportunity to douse speculation he will end up replacing Callahan in Lincoln. "I don't really know for sure they are interested in me," Kiffin said Wednesday. "Nebraska is a unique place. I grew up there, I played there and I coached there. But I'm a Buccaneer right now. That's all I know and I'm taking it one day at a time and one week at a time."
One problem with the Kiffin-to-Nebraska scenario is the timing aspect. Another is that ESPN.com reported Wednesday night that the school has narrowed its choices to Buffalo coach Turner Gill and LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini. Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said he is hoping for a resolution "sooner rather than later," but the Bucs have a two-game lead atop the NFC South and the NFL playoffs don't begin until the weekend of Jan. 5-6. Kiffin's name also surfaced at Nebraska toward the end of the 2003 season, when Frank Solich was fired. The Cornhuskers took more than a month before naming Callahan, who went 27-22 in four years, including an 0-7 mark against Top 10 opponents. INJURY UPDATE: QB Jeff Garcia (back) and RBs Michael Pittman (ankle) and B.J. Askew (ankle) did not participate in Wednesday's practice. DE Greg Spires, who has missed the last three games with a calf injury, participated on a limited basis and said he is close to returning. The Saints are basically at full strength heading into Sunday's 4:15 p.m. matchup at the Superdome, but RB Deuce McAllister is out for the season with a torn ACL. "Deuce McAllister is a tough inside runner and they miss him," Kiffin said, "but they've still got such an explosive offense with lots of weapons." Since McAllister went down in September, Coach Sean Payton has used the pass to set up the run as New Orleans rebounded from an 0-4 getaway. QB Drew Brees leads the NFL with 456 attempts and has been sacked only eight times. "They're going to throw it 50, 55, 60 times in a game, from all kinds of formations and an array of sets," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "They've adjusted, to me, by throwing the football repeatedly, and they've had some success in the process." ON THE LINE: The Bucs didn't register a first down after intermission while beating Washington 19-13 and a frustrated offensive line is ready to atone, no matter who takes the snaps in New Orleans. "We didn't take a step forward on Sunday and we know we kind of stubbed our toe," RT Jeremy Trueblood said. "All we can do as a line is get better. The Superdome is a loud place to play and we know you can take the crowd out of the game if you can run the ball. We want to take it one game at a time, but we do realize that there are bigger and better things out there, especially if we win this game." BUC BITS: Tampa Bay promoted RB Lionel Gates from the practice squad to the active roster, released CB Keiwan Ratliff and signed G Brian Johnson to the practice squad. ...The 192-yard effort against the Redskins marked the fewest yards for the Bucs in a victory during Gruden's six-year tenure, breaking the previous record of 196 yards against Philadelphia in 2006, won on Matt Bryant's 62-yard FG. ... Saints WR Marques Colston was limited to 26 receptions and two TDs in the first six games, but has 42 catches and four TDs in the past five games. He has averaged seven receptions against Tampa Bay in three previous meetings. Ira Kaufman
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