When Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians’ alma mater Virginia Tech joined the college football coaching carousel, he took calls from his old school for input on the next hire.
He didn’t give the rumor mill a chance to start spinning though.
“Yeah, I’ve talked to a couple people up there. I ain’t one of them,” Arians told the media on Nov. 17 with a big grin as he got up and left.
Virginia Tech lost its head coach Justin Fuente as he and athletic director Whit Babcock “mutually agreed to part ways” on Nov. 16 per HokieSports.com. Arians, 69, played quarterback for the Hokies in the 1970s before a lengthy coaching career in college and the NFL. He and his wife, Christine, made a major contribution to the football program last month for the quarterback room, which will be named for him per HokieSports.com.
“I’ll be Hokie for life. I won’t be anything else for life, but I’ll be a damn Hokie for life. I know that,” Arians told The Athletic’s Andy Bitter.
Arians has a four-year contract to coach the Bucs, which runs through the 2023 season. He said during that offseason that he doesn’t want to retire anytime soon.
“Oh yeah, that’s the plan. I don’t have any plans on retiring,” Arians said on the Pewter Report podcast in May. “It’s just, when do I not want to go back to work? When I’m not excited about going back to work then I’m cheating somebody. I’m cheating the Glazer family, I’m cheating my players.”
It’s also not tied to how much long Bucs quarterback Tom Brady, 44, plays.
“I could get extremely excited about having another young quarterback and going to war with one,” Arians added.
Arians Returns to NFL Head Coaching Roots
After decades of coaching in assistant roles, Arians suddenly took over as interim head coach in Indianapolis during the 2012 season. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano stepped away due to a battle with leukemia, and Arians, the offensive coordinator, took over for the final 12 games and went 9-3.
“It’s always fun to go back. I hate to go back and play against friends. I really love the Irsay family, they were great to me. It’s nice in that regard but I never like playing against friends.” Arians told the media on Wednesday, Nov. 24.
His success with the Colts led to taking the head coaching job with the Arizona Cardinals. He retired in 2017 for health reasons but came out of retirement to coach the Bucs in 2019.
Arians’ Biggest Concern Facing the Colts
Indianapolis leads the NFL in turnover margin with a plus-15 differential. The Colts committed 10 turnovers but nabbed 25 takeaways in the first 11 games of the season.
“They are really good at punching out the ball,” Arians told the press on Friday, Nov. 26. “We’ve got to have great ball security. We’ve had issues on the road so far this year with turnovers. It’s a top priority for us to win the turnover battle in this game.”
Tampa Bay committed five turnovers between the road losses to Washington and New Orleans. The Bucs cleaned that up on Monday, Nov. 22, in a home win against the New York Giants, giving up the ball once.