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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a one-hour special teams practice on Tuesday afternoon. The team had half of their players and about half of their coaches participating in the practice. The players were playing in shorts, jerseys, and helmets. Some of the coaches that were helping special teams coordinator Richard Bisaccia included linebackers coach Gus Bradley and defensive backs coach Raheem Morris.
To start, the Bucs focused on some technique and fundamentals. They had three lines of players that took turns. Two lines were working on punt blocking. One line was working on gunner coverage and gunner blocking.
"That a boy Mo," yelled Bisaccia to Maurice Stovall when he blocked a punt correctly. The tall wide receiver Stovall, showed the proper technique in blocking a punt. Stovall was the only Buccaneer player to block a punt during the 2007 season.
"Nice, Donte," Bradley yelled to backup safety Donte Nicholson. After the players finished those drills they stretched. Stovall, linebacker Ryan Nece, cornerback Phillip Buchanon, and linebacker Antoine Cash led the stretching session. After stretching, the players practiced punts. Throughout the workout the players weren't making much contact. The returners were not being pursued and the players were just stopping short as they were striding.
The players fielding punts for the Buccaneers were: running back Clifton Smith, and wide receivers Dexter Jackson and Micheal Spurlock. All of the returners fielded the ball cleanly, although on one play Jackson let a ball bounce that may have nicked him as it went by. The Bucs practiced some fake punts that looked very effective at getting a first down.
The starting punt coverage unit consisted of: punter Josh Bidwell, long-snapper Andrew Economos, personal protector Ryan Nece, and gunners Maurice Stovall and Sabby Piscitelli. The interior blockers were: Adam Hayward, Alex Smith, Jimmy Wilkerson, John Gilmore, Quincy Black, and Donte Nicholson. Tampa Bay also practiced punting out of their own end zone.
After some time on punts, the Buccaneers switched to kickoffs. The starting kick return unit consisted of: Hayward, Nece, Nicholson, Piscitelli, and Black on the front line. The second tier of blockers included: Byron Storer, Gilmore, Wilkerson, and Smith. The returner's lead blocker was Stovall and the returner was Micheal Spurlock.
"Stride, men. No need to get IV'd after this," shouted Bisaccia.
In the second and third team units, Jackson, Smith, and Phillip Buchanon and returned kickoffs. Coach Bradley took part in the kick return blocking for the third-string unit. The linebackers enjoyed that and were trash talking with their coach. The practice ended after an hour and was a spirited session.
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