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Buccaneers to make LSU's Cooper their next DBs coach

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have hired LSU defensive backs coach Ron Cooper to their coaching staff, the Tampa Bay Times reported Wednesday.

Head coach Greg Schiano confirmed the move Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. He said the deal is not official yet, but expects Cooper to sign the necessary paperwork shortly.

Schiano has been trying to complete his staff since he was hired at the end of January. NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported that Schiano was blocked from interviewing Arizona's John McNulty and Green Bay's Ben McAdoo for the offensive coordinator position and San Francisco's Ed Donatell for the defensive coordinator position, which were ultimately filled by former Giants quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan and Ohio State's Bill Sheridan, respectively.

"We're not going to rush," Schiano told Thursday at the combine. "The whole time I've said I'd rather be a month late in hiring our staff than a day early. I want to make sure that the chemistry and the fit and the people had the same core values that I do and the same core values that the organization has."

Schiano said that in the past, he felt that it was important to hire a staff quickly, but has since learned better.

"That's not the way to go," he said. "So it's taken maybe longer than I would have liked, but we're going to make sure that the guys that we hired were the right fit."

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In a news release announcing Cooper's hiring, the team also confirmed that Bob Fraser has been hired as linebackers coach, Jeff Hafley as the assistant defensive backs coach, Tem Lukabu as defensive quality control coach and Randy Melvin as defensive line coach.

Cooper molded several stars at LSU. The Tigers featured two national award winners in Morris Claiborne (Thorpe Award) and Tyrann Mathieu (Bednarik Award) this past season. In 2010, Patrick Peterson won the Thorpe and Bednarik awards, and was the fifth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Claiborne, regarded as a top cornerback prospect, could be of interest to the Buccaneers, who have the fifth overall pick in this year's 2012 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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