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Bucs Spread the Ball Around Offense Has Hillard Feeling Left Out

The Buccaneers are a team that likes to spread the ball around, and it’s already cost Joey Galloway quite a few balls this season. But he’s not the only one feeling the lack of balls being thrown his way, as Ike Hillard is another player that seems out of the loop.

Tampa Bay Online has in its notes section a tidbit on Hillard and the lack of passes he has hauled in this season. Hilliard has 38 catches for 351 yards and four touchdowns, which is not on par with his numbers last season. The 12-year veteran had 62 receptions for 722 yards and one TD last year. Hilliard has five catches for 60 yards and one touchdown in the last four games.

“They call the plays and I’ll run them. That’s really it,” Hilliard said. “There is always a method to Coach Jon Gruden’s madness.”

As the site points out – Tampa Bay has 10 players with at least 10 receptions in 2008, while TEs Alex Smith (three touchdowns) and Jerramy Stevens (two touchdowns) have been more involved in this year’s offense.

“I don’t know how many guys we have in double digits catching the football, but we probably rival anyone in the league,” Gruden said. “Our tight ends are a big factor here. Jerramy Stevens has helped us. Ike’s had a solid year. Michael Clayton’s played good, but we’ve got a lot of guys that are catching the ball.

“Warrick Dunn. B.J. Askew is a factor now in the passing game. We’re one of those teams that tries to utilize all five eligibles. Hopefully we can get some more to Ike here as we progress.”

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