After holding their first training camp practice at One Buccaneer Place on Saturday morning, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers conducted their second workout of the day at location fans likely are more familiar with.
The Bucs boarded buses and took a five-minute ride from One Buc Place to Raymond James Stadium for practice on Saturday night.
Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden held a few organized team activities per year at Ray-Jay, but none were open to the public.
Saturday night's practice was not only free and open to the public, the practice was put on with the fans in mind, with the players signing autographs after the night workout, the video screens inside the stadium showing short clips of the assistant coaches explaining different aspects of the practice to the fans and even the Bucs cheerleaders performing to music that played throughout most of the practice.
"It was great. It's always great to get around the fans," said Bucs head coach Raheem Morris. "This gives us a little taste of what it's like for the games. It kind of amped it up a little bit with playing music and the crowd really getting into it. This is what we wanted to do. We wanted to involve our fans. You see all the players signing autographs and thanking the fans and the [injured war] veterans for coming out. This is our community and we're bringing it back. That's what we said we wanted to do from the beginning."
When it was Bucs linebackers coach Joe Barry's turn to talk to the fans, he urged them to get as loud as possible to help the defense win its battles against the offense. The crowd helped, and the offensive players certainly noticed.
"This was a nice change of pace and gave us a little taste of what our regular season home games should be like if we're doing what we're supposed to be doing," said Bucs guard Davin Joseph. "This is great for the fans and great for us to work in this noise and this type of atmosphere."
Day 1 of Tampa Bay's 2009 training camp is officially in the books, and it ended with a bang (literally as the pirate ship's cannons exploded several times) at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night.
"This is what it's about," said Bucs defensive end Gaines Adams. "We wanted to come out here and have a good practice and come closer together as a team with the fans."
Two players — defensive linemen Greg Peterson and Louis Holmes — were held out of the night practice with their respective injuries. The Bucs are scheduled to hold one practice at One Buc Place on Sunday afternoon.