Bucs Kick Off Rookie Mini-Camp Tampa Bay kicked off the first of three rookie mini-camp practices at One Buccaneer Place on Friday.
This weekend’s mini-camp does not include veterans. Instead, only rookies and first-year players are allowed to participate.
Tampa Bay’s 10 draft picks and four recent undrafted free agents signing were among the players in attendance on Friday.
The Bucs also signed 28 players to tryout contracts, which means it had more than 50 players on the two practice fields at One Buc Place on Friday.
“We’re trying to throw a lot of things at them and see who can learn what,” Bucs head coach Jon Gruden said. “Try and tax them a little bit, mentally and physically. Get them acclimated to how we’re going to practice so when they do come back here in the middle of May or early June, they are not shocked with the tempo and they don’t slow some of our veterans down and get yelled at by them. But we want to try to build relationships with the position coaches and the players, try to get a little camaraderie going amongst this class. Teach them a little about our system of football, how we are going to practice. Build some relationships. It’s a big part of this.”
Here is a look at the players participating in Tampa Bay’s three-day rookie mini-camp.
First-Year Players WR Larry Brackins S Steve Cargile G Jonathan Clinkscale FB Robert Douglas S Dwight Ellick T Sam Lightbody WR Derek McCoy DT Lynn McGruder CB James Patrick G Stefan Rodgers
2006 NFL Draft Picks G Davin Joseph – First Round T Jeremy Trueblood – Second Round WR Maurice Stovall – Third Round CB Alan Zemaitis – Fourth Round DE Julian Jenkins – Fifth Round QB Bruce Gradkowski – Sixth Round TE T.J. Williams – Sixth Round CB Justin Phinissee – Seventh Round DE Charles Bennett – Seventh Round TE Tim Massaquoi – Seventh Round
Undrafted Free Agent Signings S Jahmile Addae – West Virginia Tech RB Andre Hall – South Florida TE/LS Boone Stutz – Texas A&M LB Anthony Trucks – Oregon
Tryout Contract Players C Jeff Bolton – Montana State P Josh Brown – South Carolina S Quentin Burrell – Notre Dame WR Broderick Clark – Louisville QB Jay Davis – North Carolina State CB Mike Davis – Arizona State FB Adam Gorman – Florida International WR Moses Harris – Grambling LB Kenneth Hollis – Louisiana State DT Dwayne Hollyfield – Arizona State CB Reuben Houston – Georgia Tech CB Byron Jones – Texas A&M DE Tim Jones – South Florida LB Anthony Jordan – Toledo TE Corey Lamkin – Texas A&M-Corpus Christi T Zachary Love – Buffalo LB Clarence McDougal – Mississippi State WR Jason Mitchell – USC LB Kelvin Robinson – Mississippi DE Terrence Royal – South Florida RB Steve Silva – Holy Cross G Brian Sims – Delaware S Brandon Spincer – Tulane LB Rodney Thomas – Clemson RB Daccus Turman – South Carolina WR Brandon White – Wisconsin LB Keron Williams – Massachusetts CB Michael Woods – Southern
The Bucs will hold another practice from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, and the third and final rookie mini-camp practice will be held at One Buc Place from 10:00-11:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.
Tampa Bay is scheduled to conduct its three-day mandatory mini-camp from June 20-22.
Dream Come True It is every young football player’s dream to one day play in the National Football League. But it’s not every day that you hear of someone having the opportunity to play in the NFL with their favorite football team.
That’s the dream that Tampa Bay’s 2006 fourth-round draft pick, cornerback Alan Zemaitis, began fulfilling Friday when he took the field with the Buccaneers, a team that he grew fond of as a youngster because of veteran cornerbacks Ronde Barber and Brian Kelly.
“It’s going to be a learning experience,” Zemaitis said of playing with Barber and Kelly. “With those two guys, I know that I’m just going to watch them and learn how to be a professional and see how they carry themselves and the way that they learned the defense. I want to learn everything they’ve learned so I can play wide open like that. It’s a lot different watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on television then watching it in the cut-ups in the room. Those guys are animals. It’s crazy. You have to watch yourself because you are there for learning purposes, but it’s kind of entertaining at the same time – watching guys get blown up like that. I just have a lot of pride in what I’m doing out here and being a part of the Buccaneers is something I’ve always dreamed of.”
So, what has it been like so far for Zemaitis to be coached by the architect of the Tampa 2 defense, Bucs defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin?
“It’s kind of overwhelming,” said Zemaitis. “He’s actually kind of tall, too. He’s not a short guy, so you’re in awe a little bit. After you settle down you really have a sense of pride. That’s how I play the game. I can’t go out there and play and not feel some pride in what I’m doing. I just feel like because they drafted me I’ve got a sense of pride I have to uphold. I’m wearing colors that are special to the state of Florida. I want to do nothing but represent for Monte Kiffin and Coach Gruden.”
According to Gruden, Zemaitis, who is 6-foot-1, is pretty tall himself in person.
“I was very impressed with Zemaitis today,” said Gruden. “He’s a bigger corner than I expected, even after seeing him at the combine. He’s a big guy.”
All Eyes On Rookies Tampa Bay’s coaching staff and the local media weren’t the only ones in attendance for part of Friday’s rookie mini-camp practice.
Veterans aren’t permitted to participate in the rookie mini-camp, but that didn’t stop several Bucs players, including tight end Alex Smith, quarterback Chris Simms, running back Michael Pittman and defensive tackle Anthony “Booger” McFarland, from stopping by One Buc Place to take a look at some of their new teammates.
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