Buccaneers embrace Williamson selection


TAMPA, Fla. -- In the locker room at One Buccaneer Place, the verdict appears unanimous. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are jubilant that former assistant coach Richard Williamson is now the permanent head coach.

"Richard deserved a chance," wide receiver Mark Carrier said. "You can't judge on the last three games [which Williamson coached after the firing of Ray Perkins]. Guys on the team felt he was the right guy, and that he has the talent to coach."

The players reacted positively to the change in coaching personalities. Perkins was stern and unyielding, Williamson more relaxed.

"I think it will have a good effect," defensive back Mark Robinson said. "When players play in a high-pressure business there are a lot of demands put on you. With a more relaxed atmosphere, we should be able to let our talents show. I really think it will benefit this team."

Perhaps no one will be more affected by the change than quarterback Vinny Testaverde. Williamson will hire an offensive coordinator and a quarterbacks coach. Testaverde said he welcomes the additions.

"Coach Perkins held so many positions it was difficult [to devote enough time to any of them]," he said.

And Williamson's offensive philosophy? "I think Richard will do whatever it takes to win," Testaverde said. "If that means throwing 50 times a game, we'll do that. If it means running 50 times a game, we'll do that."

Others interviewed for the job included former Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick and Dolphins quarterback coach Gary Stevens.

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