-- TAMPA, Fla. -- The coach who once turned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from losers to winners has some strong thoughts on a candidate he says can do the same thing if given a chance.
In an interview with The Tampa Bay Times, former Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy said that Lovie Smith would be a good fit as Tampa Bay's next coach. Smith, who was fired by the Chicago Bears after last season, is reportedly the early favorite to land the Buccaneers job.
Smith has ties to the Buccaneers: He was linebackers coach when Dungy took over as head coach in 1996.
"I think he knows the lay of the land in the organization, No. 1,'' Dungy told the newspaper. "He's been there and knows how this thing really developed and how it got going well. I also think he could bring some of that back.
"They've got talented people in place, and the one thing he had in Chicago if you talk to all those players, was that loyalty factor and guys wanting to play for him, and I think that's what he would bring and kind of bring this group together.''
Dungy said Smith would be able to assemble a strong coaching staff. There have been reports that Smith plans to bring former Cal coach Jeff Tedford as the offensive coordinator wherever he ends up.
"He really could [bring a good staff],'' Dungy told the Times. "There are a lot of people that would like to work for him and I would guess the whole key will be who they want to get as a GM, and the whole kind of structure they have and how they move forward.
"But I think Lovie knows how to win in the NFL, he knows a lot of good people. He would have a lot of people who would love to work for him on the staff and he'll have players who would love to play for him. So that's a pretty good combination of things to have.''
Dungy said he hasn't talked to the Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, to endorse Smith.
"I have not and I don't think that's the way they operate,'' Dungy told the newspaper. "I think they kind of decide what they want to do and make up their mind and do it, but no, I've not had any contact with them in terms of what's going on now.''