Tampa Bay Buccaneer Training Camp Day 1: Heat Takes Its Toll

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer IJuly 27, 2012

Josh Freeman got hit by the first day of heat and humidity.
Josh Freeman got hit by the first day of heat and humidity.Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

FC Tom Edrington was on site for the opening of Tampa Bay Buccaneer training camp.


7:50 a.m.:  Believe it or not there's a pretty long line of fans waiting to get into One Buc Place for the start of the first day of training camp. It's early and there are at least 300 people in line.

7:55 a.m.:  The gates open, the line moves quickly.

8:00 a.m.:  The Bucs have outdone themselves. There's a neat tented village called Treasure Cove with a nifty concession pavilion, an air-conditioned ticket office (buy a season ticket on site), Capt. Fear and some of his minions are throwing red and pewter beads to the fans filing in.

8:15 a.m.:  Staff is all over the field, getting things in place. The fields are PERFECT, they are a manicured hybrid bermuda grass, rolled before practice, no a spike mark anywhere.

8: 35 a.m.: First players out of the facility are tight ends Drake Dunsmore and Chase Coffman.

8: 40 a.m.: Just about everyone's out by now.

8: 43 a.m.: The horn sounds early, the new Greg Schiano mantra, if you're not early, you're late.

After an hour, the main thing you notice is that these practices are more highly-organized than during the Raheem Morris era. There is major attention to FUNDAMENTALS, many of the fans find it boring. There will be minor contact only. The team is not in full pads, just shells. Full pads on Sunday.

The offensive linemen are about 35 feet away, Jeremey Trueblood appears to be favoring his right leg, which is encased in one of those support sleeves. Carl Nicks is HUGE, the man has the largest calf muscles I've ever seen on a human.

The tempo is up-beat, no loafing. Constant motion.

After 10 a.m., the entertainment begins in front of the far west stands as Josh Freeman and the offense do some work with the defense.

Doug Martin appears to be exactly as advertised. He has some major "shake and bake" moves. On one play, he broke outside, gave an amazing inside fake and broke free up the right sideline. Talk about quick!

Martin makes LeGarrette Blount look very ordinary.

Vincent Jackson is a beast. He's enormous for a receiver. Incredible hands, makes catching Freeman's passes look easy.

Luke Stocker brings a huge roar from the onlookers when he makes a finger-tip pass reception.

Mike Williams caught the ball consistently. So did most of the receivers. If balls were catchable, they were caught.

Josh Freeman completes a 50-yard bomb to Tiquan Underwood, who beat the $7.5 million man, corner Eric Wright.



Two hours into the session, the heat began to take its toll.

Freeman had to leave the field and appeared nauseous. He later returned.

Nicks, Aqib Talib and Colin Franklin struggled with the heat and humidity.

Arrelious Benn looked like he had a slight leg injury and limped to the sidelines.

Corner E.J. Biggers left the field and was helped to the sideline.

Mercifully, around 11: 15 a.m., the horn blew and the two hour, 40 minute session ended.

Schiano wants his team to embrace the heat. Well, from the look of things, it will take them some time this afternoon to recover from it.

They'll be at it again Saturday morning at 8:45.

Things should start to get interesting on Sunday morning when they don full pads for the first time.

This football team has a lot of work to do.