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August 5, 2012 @ 12:02 am
Current rating: 5.00 Stars/1 Votes

Fans Turn Out To See Bucs; Schiano Pleased With Night Practice

Written by Dory
Dory LeBlanc


Beat Writer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Over 30,000 fans went to Raymond James Stadium Saturday for the Bucs' FanFest and night practice. The crowd was the largest the Bucs have had for a free event, and the team fed off the fans' energy.
Everybody knows that rainbows appear after storms. Saturday night at Raymond James Stadium, a double rainbow appeared in the dark grey sky after a 30-40 minute rain delay at the Bucs’ night practice. It was the perfect metaphor for the 2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The majority of the 30,000 fans that walked through the stadium’s entrance between FanFest and the practice witnessed for the first time a new coaching staff, several new players, and a new attitude. They were patient through the delay, much like they have been the last few seasons, and hope what they saw Saturday night is a sign of good things to come.

Before the lightning strikes that halted the practice cracked in the distance, the crowd watched as the Bucs gathered at center field in a huddle, broke into groups for warm up drills, and lined up perfectly across the field and began the team stretch. People in the stands used words such as “disciplined” and “organized”, while others told general manager Mark Dominik while he was shaking their hands how much they approve of what the organization is doing.

When practice was over head coach Greg Schiano met the media on the field and talked about Saturday’s experience. One thing Schiano said in particular is what some Bucs fans have been waiting to hear for what seems like an eternity.

"The biggest thing I like is that they are trying to do what we're asking them to do.” Schiano said. “And a lot of the stuff we're asking them to do is very hard, physically and technique-wise so as long as they'll keep trying and we'll keep helping them, they'll get there eventually."

Over the course of the last eight practices, most of the players have noticeably improved from day to day. The team isn’t perfect and they never will be, but they work hard to be as close to perfect as they can be and most importantly, they do it as a team. After a long week, the players seemed to be rejuvenated by the crowd at hand.

"It was good for the players.” Schiano said. “This is the second, fourth straight day we've gone in a row. I didn't have to bring the energy, the fans did. That was good, they had a lot of fun tonight."

The players indeed had fun. During one of the warm up drills, safety Ahmad Black pretended to tackle Schiano from behind, which startled the coach just before he let out a loud laugh. While the second team unit was on the field Mike Williams, Vincent Jackson, LeGarrette Blount, Doug Martin, and Dallas Clark stood in a circle with one hand behind their backs, while they caught and tossed a football to each other. If you dropped it, you were out; Jackson was the last man standing every time. Several times Blount would turn to the crowd and raise his arms to pump up the fans, as a roar would erupt from the spectators.

Although fans were the focus of the night, the players practiced hard and Schiano was pleased with the night’s events.

“I think what we got out of it was no major injuries.” Schiano said. “That was one of my concerns. We got the young kids an opportunity to actually play live football in front of some people. So Friday night will not be their first time playing in an NFL stadium and actually playing. I thought it was pretty good. It was good for us coaches to be on the headset. You know going through game like situations. Although some of us have been together in other places, the unique chemistry when you put it all together is good work for us.”

This Friday the Bucs head south to take on the Miami Dolphins in the first preseason game. It will be the first time we will be able to gauge how the hard work and long morning practices are paying off. There are still some wrinkles that need to be ironed out and the live game setting for many players will be reviewed, a lot of which the coaching staff will address in the film room in the days to come.

"I'm anxious to see the tape too, because even though it doesn't count, it is a different setting. In front of a crowd, in the stadium, certain guys have that - the lights go on, they go on."

If Saturday’s practice was any indication, more than just lights will be on in Miami Gardens Friday night. 

Last modified on Sunday, 05 August 2012 07:55

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  • avatar

    owlykat: I thing the reference to Zutah at guard was a mistake. I liked Hardy last training camp too. Shows what I know.
  • avatar

    Not impressed with our backup QBs. Hope Freeman can play the whole season. Why was Zutah playing guard? I think it was very smart for Sciano to give Lewis the opportunity to play with the first string at DB and he seemed to actually turn the corner and for the first time play up to the potential that got him drafted. Hope he has permanently turned the corner because we could use another big CB to go with Talib. There were too many dropped passes. Hope the team has now adjusted to playing under the lights and will have control of their nerves when they have to play this preseason. Dotson looked good! I think the first string reps he has gotten this year has allowed him to become a reliable backup at that position, and Hardman looks like he could fill in at RT if he is needed. I think we still need to draft a top tackle next year who can replace Trueblood in the future. I still think he will be the weaklink of our offensive line. What is with Larsen? Two years ago he played excellent at left guard, but he looked bad when he got playing time last year and I am not impressed so far this year either. We still need another great player to step up on the DL to go with McCoy. Sorry we did not see a good show from Stocker--we should never have cut Hardy last year! Thank goodness we have Dallas Clark. Otherwise our offense is a lot better this year and the defense is better at the LB and DB positions. We need more sackers up front to go with Claiborne, and better guard backups, When Bowers is back the sacks will pick up. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Here's an idea JayBuc. Go to more practices and games so you start to understand what is happening on the field without someone telling you. At every practice there are a multitude of things going on so you just have to keep changing what you watch. Then again, if you attend one of these live events, you might be subjected to someone behind you who wants to predict every play and says things like, "it's going to be a pass, told you. It's going to be a run, why are they passing?" They suck at calling plays."
  • avatar

    While it was a very nice time and practice, I do have suggestions for the team for next year. Considering that Schiano has talked about the Bucs reconnecting with the fans, he missed a great opportunity to talk to the fans directly. Both he and Glazer could have picked up a mic and talked to the fans. Instead, the only talked to the press. My second suggenstion is that they should have an announcer do the play by play during the scrimmage. There are a lot of new players and it would have engaged the fans if someone would have called out who was running or who caught a pass. Instead, the fans just sat there guessing at the action on the field. The concessions were poorly manned and the lines moved at a glacier pace. Otherwise, it was nice to see the team, with their toes on the line, go through their paces. I was right in front of the sections where they conducted the tackling drills where they wrapped up and twisted. Also it was good to see the linemen in their drill practicing getting off the ball under a string in order to keep their pad levels low. Clark spent a good portion of the time when he wasn't on the field, practicing one handed grabs on the sideline. It would have been nice if someone had explained the drills. The coaches did appear on video later on to briefly discuss some of the team drills but that was very sparse and not very helpful. The fireworks were a nice touch although they were too low and too far west to be seen from the west stands. You had to move close to the field to be able to see them. If you didn't move, most of them were blocked by the Hess sign. It was good to see the team and the new coaching staff, but they can work on some improvements for next year.
  • avatar

    The Energy sounds good. IT looks like we are getting a lof of effort, and I have my fingers crossed on Defense. The Secondary is going to be good and it looks like Linebacker may be improved. I am going to keep my mouth shut about the DL for now, but it makes me nervous. On Offense, I think we may have an explosive team this year. I have no doubts about Freeman at all, and with all these new weapons, it will be pick your poison on Defense for our opponents. Jackson is going to have a great year, and Martin will be a lot of fun to watch. Get Ready Buc Fans, The Season is here. It is safe to think about Football again.
  • avatar

    "The players indeed had fun. During one of the warm up drills, safety Ahmad Black pretended to tackle Schiano from behind, which startled the coach just before he let out a loud laugh." -- I thought Winslow said you can't laugh under Schiano, so he 'had to roll' out... yeah, that was the reason.
  • avatar

    This is the first time this season that I felt that this was our team; the Tampa Bay Team. I am fired up for the games to start. Oh I had my usual concerns in questions but I understand that under the CBA this year we are not going to see any tackling and hitting unless it is right at the line of scriminage. So I watched mainly for technique with some players. I watched Dotson alot with my binoculars and I think he held his own; same for MCcOY. For me there is still the same concerns about the back up positions at OT's, the DL weakness, and the LB weakness, but I thought Foster, Lewis A. Black played good. Dallas Clark played good, the other TE's did not. Stucker looked another knicked up. I think Blount and Baron also because they hardly did any 7-7's or 11- 11''s. We saw a lot tonight of our third string QB who can't go to the Practice Squad and I am still puzzled why we don't have a QB here that can. I thought Freeman looked okay and the same for Orlovsky. I thought it was good that they got to practice on a wet field, but I wished they had stayed out with us in the rain and practiced because we will have a game in the rain. I'm going to one more practice a week from Wednesday and I hope to see Penn out there by then and in shape. Again, it was fun snd I agree with my buddy Scubog that the press needs to ask the tough questions; there's a lot to ask. Hey maybe you can do a questionaire poll and ask them so you can use that as an excuse as to why you asked them in a press conference? 1st question when is Penn coming back? It appears you have a lot of decent WR's and mostly poor TE performaners are you going to keep more of some and less of others. I think Hardwick looks like he might be an OT back up. Who else saw things? Go Bucs!
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