Things Are Slowing Down On Offense For Buccaneers Rookie Running Back

Bucky Irving is picking up on NFL speed.
Buccaneers running back Bucky Irving (courtesy of Bucky Irving's Instagram)
Buccaneers running back Bucky Irving (courtesy of Bucky Irving's Instagram) /
In this story:

After coming minutes away from making it to the NFC Championship game, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers invested heavily in this roster this offseason. They brought back key starters, added depth and supplemented the roster through the draft.

One player they brought in who has the fan base excited is fourth-round running back Bucky Irving. The 5'10, 195-pound running back may be small in stature, but he plays anything but. Irving is a tackle-breaking machine and has forced a slew of missed tackles during his college career. In his final season at Oregon, he forced 69 missed tackles and had a 3.99 yards after contact average.

When Irving first arrived for rookie minicamp, you could see the explosiveness in which he jump cuts to make defenders miss. While there were no pads on, what you saw in college immediately jumped out during team drills. Irving has the talent, but learning the playbook is a different story. Heading into training camp, things are finally slowing down for the rookie running back and he's at a place he feels comfortable knowing his assignments.

“I think it’s slowing down for me a lot," Irving said. "When I first got out here, my mind was spinning because I didn’t know what was going on. But [I’ve been] pretty much just locking in every night, going over my plays, having the voice audio and hearing the plays, talking through what I’ve got and being able to come out here and execute it. I feel like it’s slowing down a lot for me because I finally know what I’m doing, know the protections and things like that. If I just keep that up, I’ll be in great hands.”

READ MORE: Here’s Where Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield Can Improve Ahead of 2024 Season

It's not just the playbook Irving is getting adjusted to, though. The speed of the NFL game is far beyond the college one. Intensity and details are priorities in practice as rookies translate from student-athletes to professional football players.

“I’d probably say the details and the intensity is way higher from college to the NFL," Irving said. "Guys take it a lot more seriously and even if it’s a walk-through, we’re going with speed. I’d pretty much just say the high intensity and the details.”

Irving's role is uncertain at the moment, but he is making the most of his opportunity leaning on the veterans as he learns the playbook and what it takes to be a pro. Though when the call comes through Irving will be ready for whatever the coaches ask of him.

“There’s always room for improvement [and] room to learn," Irving said. "I’m just leaning on these older guys to learn from them – Rachaad White, Chase [Edmonds] and [those] guys have been great leaders for me, helping me with the playbook and helping me with things I need to know. I’ve been leaning on those guys. I’m going to fit in wherever the coaches need me to play – I [don’t] really necessarily have [a] role yet. I’m going to go with the flow until my number is called.”

READ MORE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers May Lose $450 Million Due to NFL Sunday Ticket Antitrust Lawsuit

Stick with BucsGameday for more FREE coverage of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the offseason.

Follow BucsGameday on Twitter and Facebook

More Tampa Bay Buccaneers News

• PFF Ranks Buccaneers Linebacker Corps Outside Top 20 in 2024

• How Strong is Buccaneers WR Mike Evans' Hall of Fame Case Heading into 2024?

• Former Buccaneers LB Devin White Reflects on Rocky End to Tampa Bay Tenure

• WATCH: Check Out Buccaneers Outside Linebacker Yaya Diaby Mic'd Up at Minicamp

JC Allen


JC Allen has been covering the Bucs since 2020. He is credentialed reporter and writer for Sports Illustrated’s Bucs Gameday and is the VP of the PFWA Tampa Chapter. A transplant to the area, he offers unparalleled views and insights on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.