On Friday, former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden took Dale Mabry south all the way to the water inside the premises of MacDill Air Force Base.
Gruden and his Monday Night Football crew took about 20 or so men of the military from all different branches, broke them up into positions, taught them some plays and ran a little practice session on a field that was on the base.
Gruden looked like he was back in his element out on the grass on Friday. He was running the players through all sorts of drills. He’s called random plays and made some of the quarterbacks yell them back to him. Also, as shown above, he even got the itch to play defender in some of his drills – above he plays the role of Ronde Barber.
He couldn’t let them have all the fun.
As the day went on Gruden even lightened up a bit. He let some of the quarterbacks let it loose on deep passes and even got into some of his complex plays. In the clip above, he showed the guys how to run his famous Spider 2 Y Banana.
He made sure they ran it until it was a completed pass. He couldn’t let his favorite play go out incomplete.
The on-field portion of the day went on for about two hours. After that Gruden took the time to meet with any and all people who were in attendance, both media and just fans. He made himself available for photos, conversations; whatever it was, he was all smiles.
Gruden held a light media session after the practice where one of the questions he was asked was about this year’s Buccaneers team. If you click on the video above, you can hear his full answer, but the main theme of it was that in the game of football, it’s often one or two plays that separate a win and a loss.
The Bucs have just been on that unlucky – or unexecuted – side.
One of the last questions for Gruden was about the upcoming Ring of Honor Ceremony for him at Raymond James Stadium next Monday night as the Buccaneers take on the Atlanta Falcons. On that night, Gruden will have his name go up on the side of the Bucs stadium for the rest of the franchise’s history as their first, and currently only, coach to lead them to a Super Bowl.
Gruden said it will be an emotional night for him. He talked about how he was raised in the Buccaneers franchise, as his dad worked for the team back in the 80’s. He said he’s excited to see the guys again (his Super Bowl staff and players). But, he also couldn’t help but utter a phrase that may carry a lot of weight.
“I miss it.”