The Tampa Bay Buccaneers may not look any further than their own back yard to find a replacement for former coach Lovie Smith.
An NFL source has confirmed to The Tampa Tribune that Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is a candidate for the team’s head coaching vacancy and will be interviewed for the post.
In his first year with the Buccaneers, Koetter helped groom rookie quarterback Jameis Winston and orchestrated an offensive attack that set a franchise record for total yards (6,014).
The Bucs also finished the year ranked fifth in the NFL in total offense (375.9 yards per game), including fifth in the league in rushing (135.1 ypg) and 17th in passing (240.8 ypg).
The fifth-place finish marked the fourth time in nine years as an NFL coordinator that Koetter has engineered a top-10 offense. He also had a top-10 attack in Jacksonville and two during three years with the Falcons.
Bucs general manager Jason Licht is expected to oversee the hiring of the Bucs new coach and is expected to hold a news conference today at 2 p.m. to discuss that and Smith’s firing.
Before coming to the NFL in 2007, Koetter had spent 22 years coaching at the collegiate level, including the last six as head coach at Arizona State University.
Koetter held the dual position of head coach and offensive coordinator with the Sun Devils and posted a 40-34 record during his tenure, which included four trips to Bowl games.
Koetter’s first head coaching job was at Boise State University, where he produced a 26-10 record during a three-year run in which he won two Big West conference titles and was twice named Big West Coach of the Year.
Other candidates could include former Falcons coach Mike Smith, who has experience in the NFC South and had Koetter as his offensive coordinator in Atlanta for three years, as well as Tom Coughlin, a two-time Super Bowl winner who on Monday resigned as New York Giants coach.