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So much for the Lovie Smith philosophy about matching practice times with game times.

Rather than conditioning his team to the midday heat for early season home games, new Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter is changing course. Tuesday’s first voluntary organized team activity session at One Buc Place began at 10:30 a.m. and morning start times will be the norm moving forward.Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is the leading candidate for the Bucs' head coaching job - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“We did a little study and in August when we’re out here it’s on average 11 degrees cooler at 8:45 [a.m.] than it is at 2:45 [p.m.],” Koetter said from the practice field, taking a moment to joke around with the situation as well. “So I did quick Idaho State math and I subtracted that out and said, ‘Geez, 11 degrees cooler, why don’t we practice in the morning?’ It didn’t take a brain surgeon. The last 10 years I’ve been coaching in the south, I really do believe there’s a cumulative effect over the course of a season from August until the end of the year when you’re out here – even if it’s for a walk-through at 12, 1, 2 and it’s 95 degrees and the sun’s beating on you. I just think there’s a cumulative effect. We’re going to do everything we can to try to chip away at that. There are some things you can’t get away from, but we’re going to do what we can.”

In terms of the former regime’s viewpoint that there’s an advantage to getting used to playing in the midday heat, Koetter believes his team’s saved-up energy holds more value.

“I think there might be something to that but I think you also have to pick your poison,” Koetter said. “I think everybody that says that probably doesn’t live in Tampa, Florida.”

When asked how long morning practice sessions will continue, Koetter said all the way up until the fourth and final preseason game.

Veteran defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, speaking from an air conditioned press conference room a little later, said while the morning schedule is appreciated, it only does so much.

Gerald McCoy walks off the field on Sunday dejected after the loss to New York – Photo: Mark Lomoglio/PR“It’s great and I’m excited about it because I’m one of those guys that prefers to get practice out of the way and then have the rest of the day instead of sitting around waiting to die, you know?” said McCoy, drawing some laughs from the Tampa media. “It’s like, just kill me now. But I think guys are really going to appreciate it. With me being here going on seven years and seeing the different times you can practice, I prefer to practice in the morning. But I tried to warn the guys who haven’t been here. Listen, it doesn’t matter. There’s nothing that can prepare you for this. So be a professional and go at it.”

Considering on-field spring work is still just getting started, Koetter added that there are some extra things that can be done to help alleviate some of the heat stress, like portions without helmets, but only so much at times.

“That’s just one of those things that makes good common sense,” Koetter said regarding the helmets. “If you can get a couple 10-minute periods in there where those guys can get those hats off … you guys can all feel for yourself right now, it’s warm and this isn’t even humid yet. To get those helmets off for a couple periods, it just forces us to let them cool down for a little bit but still try to get some work in.”

Telling a full roster mixed with established veterans and undrafted rookies to dial it back, however, isn’t a quality solution.

“Easier said than done on that,” he said.” Any time you get 90 grown men going full speed on a football field I think it’s probably safer if everybody’s going the same speed than if some guys are trying to go [slower]. We try to manage the tempo and let them know what’s expected each period, but if you come out here and you’re fearing guys getting hurt, you’re in for disappointment, because it’s bound to happen at some point.”

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About the Author: Eric Horchy

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macabee
macabee
5 years ago

Forgive me Buc fans, but this seems to be a discussion every year this time of year. It may even be presumptuous of me to bring this up, but I thought we had resolved this issue. – One coach thought the heat gave us a competitive advantage, our new coach wants to stay out of it if at all possible, a past coach would assemble everybody in the dome at Tropicana Field to practice. So as I recall, this issue was taken to the attention of the Glazers and I thought they promised to build an indoor practice facility. –… Read more »

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
Reply to  macabee
5 years ago

Good point Mac. I remember there being talk last year at this time and haven’t really heard anything about it since.

76Buc
76Buc
Reply to  macabee
5 years ago

Thanks mac for asking. I was wondering the same thing as I read the article. PR, why aren’t you asking that question?

BIG SERIOUS
BIG SERIOUS
5 years ago

i read in a article that they will have one by the end of this season if i am not mistaken but cant they use one of those blow up domes until then

macabee
macabee
5 years ago

Cg, BIG SERIOUS, – To be fair this is the latest update on the practice facility. I was more or less taking a jab at local media for not giving us the whole story instead of more of the same. The Glazers did originally say their plans were to have this by the start of training camp but it has been delayed from 12 to 18 months. – Would be nice for our local media (PR included) to advise us of this and prevent wise a$$es like me from spouting off when the subject comes up as it does every… Read more »

fredster
fredster
5 years ago

Man I hate this time of year nothing to talk about really. Lol. There is no advantage in practicing in heat. If they can practice longer and stay better focused lower temps are better. We have lost plenty of games when it was hot as hell in Tampa! These are professional athletes for Christs sake.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

I have watched this team for 40 years and I don’t remember one game we won because the other team got to hot and tired. I do remember that idiot Ray Perkins switching sides so our team could look into the sun instead of it hitting them on the back on game day. Fact of the matter is in the summer it’s pretty much hot everywhere in the US and it only varies by two or three degree in the afternoon. Actually I think it is better to practice in the morning because over the course of a season, it… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  drdneast
5 years ago

I too was going to remind folks of Perkins’ “show em how tough we are” idea to bask in the sun. I’ve been sitting on the east side for 40 years. Hey, maybe I’m tougher than I thought.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

macabee, they are no doubt waiting to raise the ticket prices again so they can afford to put up an indoor practice facility.
I think they funneled all of this year’s money into the new TV’s and other minor enmities they felt would reward them a Super Bowl that didn’t happen.

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Didn’t we practice in Orlando in morning and afternoon seesions the year we won the Superbowl?

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

Everyone was having two a days in those days, Horse.
The idiot coach known as Ray Perkins used to have 3 a days. Team would star off hot and run out of gas after six or seven games.
So much for being the next Vince Lombardi.

drdneast
drdneast
5 years ago

Just to throw this out there, but I am really beginning to hate the Rams and their owner Ray Kroenke. This guy is like the leader of a bunch of women trailing behind Gen. Joseph Hooker during the civil war. After only 20 years of being in St. Louis where he was built a brand new spanking indoor stadium, he just ups and leave because he says its outdated. The first thing the NFL does to react to this traitorous greedy act is to reward the city with a Super Bowl. These guys are so bloated with cash and power… Read more »

owlykat
owlykat
5 years ago

Koetter knows of what he speaks. When the Bucs practiced in the hot sun it dehydrated and wore down the team and they usually lost their first game of the season and often fizzled the games the last quarter of the season. You don’t make it to the playoffs nor get any respect that way!

BucWild02
BucWild02
5 years ago

Being a team that’s based in Florida, they should know by now that you can’t beat the heat. Best thing you can do is avoid it as best you can. Acclimated doesn’t mean you live in the heat, it means you live WITH the heat and that starts with a healthy respect for it.

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