TAMPA, Fla. Its become something of a running bit for Tampa Bay Bucs head coach Greg Schiano to open his daily press briefing by stating what number workout has just been completed.
A reporter beat him to the punch Friday, triggering laughter throughout the room. But for the record, Day Seven of training camp was the most grueling yet, thanks to the extreme heat and lack of any breeze on the practice fields at One Buc Place.
Today was without a doubt the toughest day physically since weve been here, Schiano said. That flag didnt move a heck of a lot.
Understandably, Schiano and his team are looking forward to a change of scenery and a later workout time Saturday, when the Bucs hold their annual night practice at Raymond James Stadium. The event, free to the public, kicks off with an autograph session from 4 p.m.-6 p.m. (with gates opening at 4), followed by a live scrimmage and fireworks not to mention 1 hotdogs and soft drinks.
Im looking forward to tomorrow night; I think for a lot of things, Schiano said.
No. 1, its a chance for us to connect with our fans. Were going to be over there at 4 oclock and sign autographs for a good two hours, and hopefully everyone will get everything they want out of that and then the guys will go downstairs and get ready to go.
In the meantime, well have some stuff going on. Then well have a practice and it will be a legitimate practice, a lot like todays, where we do situational football. Well have a little bit of a scrimmage with our younger players, where we let them get after it. But in between, I think one of the things our fans will enjoy, well have our coaches on the big board explaining what the drills are.
For instance, one offensive coach and one from the defense will explain to the crowd whats being accomplished as a seven-on-seven drill takes place.
I think it will really be a fun, interactive evening for our fans, he said.
Schiano added that he hopes to turn the sweltering heat of Tampa Bay into an additional weapon for the team during the season.
Like I said before, Ive coached in that place when it was unbearable as an opponent, he said. We need to get it back to that. I know our performance will help do that, get fans in there. Get a day like today in September, get a packed house and youll see people crack. Theres no doubt about it. We just have to make sure we are conditioned to handle it and we can take advantage of it.
The Bucs worked on their two-minute drill to close practice, as is their custom under Schiano. Two highlights: a one-handed, diving catch by rookie tight end Drake Dunsmore, and a break-away catch and run by veteran tight end Dallas Clark.
Were learning, staff and players, he said. You know weve got to learn to work together as a staff and cant do enough of that right now. Weve got to work together as a team, understanding the situations. You know weve always prided ourselves on having smart football teams, guys who understand the game of football, all the rules of football. It takes time.
One play caused some initial concern at the end of the two-minute drill, when cornerback Myron Lewis applied a hard hit to rookie running back DeAnthony Curtis as he reached back for a short pass. Curtis appeared to have the wind knocked out of him and came up slowly, but unhurt.
You love it because you love hitting, but we just have to protect each other, he said. It is a long year. I would rather see that one against Miami rather than us. It was a good day. I was really proud the way they fought through it. It wasnt pretty, but we fought through it. That is about as tough as I have seen in a while. So thats good.