Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's exit from Virginia's program figures to be for the NFL. He's worked for the Atlanta Falcons, Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks, runs a pro-style attack and just seems to have that analytical, football-as-chess NFL approach.
Question is, has that time arrived after only two seasons in Charlottesville?
FoxSports reported Tuesday that Lazor is a candidate to become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive coordinator under new coach Greg Schiano. A source at Virginia confirmed mutual interest.
The Charlottesville Daily Progress reported Wednesday that Lazor no longer is involved with the Bucs' search, but I've been unable to confirm that.
Neither Lazor nor Virginia coach Mike London could be reached for comment.
The Cavaliers have ranked third and fourth among ACC teams in total offense in Lazor's two seasons, a marked upgrade from 2006-09. This without an elite quarterback.
In 2010, Virginia averaged a program record 265.5 passing yards per game.
Virginia's yards didn't always translate to points. The Cavaliers were ninth this past season in scoring, seventh in 2010.
Regardless of the numbers, losing Lazor would be a blow to the program. He calls an imaginative game and appears to work well with the team's quarterbacks.
One hiccup in 2011: the alternating of quarterbacks Michael Rocco and David Watford that proved more disruptive than beneficial. Once that practice was shelved, Rocco thrived and the Cavaliers won four consecutive games, including upsets of Miami and Florida State, to earn their first bowl bid since 2007.
Lazor went to Virginia after two seasons as the Seahawks' quarterbacks coach under Mike Holmgren and Jim Mora. In that role he replaced Jim Zorn when Zorn became the Redskins' head coach.
Previously, Lazor coached under Joe Gibbs in Washington and Dan Reeves in Atlanta.
"He's an impressive young man," Reeves told me when Virginia hired Lazor. "I don't think I've ever been around someone who picked up a system and terminology as fast as he did. ...
"Terminology is sort of like learning a language. You can take a Spanish course and go to Mexico and not really speak the language. Bill spoke (our) language. …
"He was always anxious to do more. I can't say enough good things about him. ... Bill just took it to the extreme. He did things you hadn't even thought about."
Schiano has quite an overhaul ahead in Tampa. The Bucs were 4-12 this season, last in the NFC South, and closed on a 10-game losing streak that cost coach Raheem Morris his job. They ranked 27th in scoring offense, averaging 17.9 points.
Tampa was minus-16 in turnover ratio, in large part because quarterback Josh Freeman threw 22 interceptions.
FoxSports reports that former Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Ron Turner also is a candidate for the Tampa gig. The Buccaneers sought permission to interview Green Bay Packers tight ends coach Ben McAdoo and Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks coach John McNulty but were denied by gthe teams, according to the Tampa Tribune.
Lazor makes more than $425,000 annually at Virginia. NFL coordinators can make more than double that salary.
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