Don’t Worry About The RainJune 20th, 2014
When the Bucs announced their training camp practices open to the public, the thing that jumped was the times. All practices were to be held in the oven that is the late-afternoon.
The heat, the humidity, the lightning! What was Lovie thinking? Well, per multimedia maven Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com, Bucs coach Lovie Smith was thinking quite a bit. The timing of the practices was anything but an accident.
Lest we forget, Lovie Smith has been to training camp in Tampa before. Furthermore, he is capable of reading weather reports. And, let me tell you, he and his staff are meticulous planners, the kind who had a mid-June practiced scheduled out to the minute during a meeting in February. My point is, Smith and his staff are just as aware of the potential weather issues as you and I. Even so, they think late-afternoon practices are the way to go, and Smith gave two reasons during one of his mini-camp press conferences.
One, the Buccaneers will be playing their first two games of the season at about that same time of the day. That might seem oddly specific to plan for that, but why not? They can’t really simulate playing a night game in a dome, which is what they will do in Week Three, and their next two games after that are also on the road. The Bucs won’t play a 1:00 p.m. game at Raymond James Stadium until October 12, and they won’t play their second one until five days before Halloween. I’ll admit that I found this explanation a bit odd when I first heard it, but it makes more sense after taking a closer look at the schedule.
Two, Smith really does want to make training camp more accessible to a greater portion of the fan base. If you can get out of work a little early to see a Yankees spring training game in March, you might be able to do the same to get you and your kids to a Bucs’ training camp practice. The Night Practice at Raymond James Stadium (this year scheduled for Friday, August 1) is always the most heavily-attended camp workout; holding more practices that fall in the early-evening hours could offer those fans more opportunities to see their team being shaped for the regular season.
Of course, Lovie chose this schedule to benefit the team, which will (hopefully) benefit all Bucs fans down the road. With victories.
Talk to old-school mentality coaches (like Mike Tomlin) and they just love practicing in the rain. As with anything, the more you practice the better you get at something, and being conditioned to play in the rain, which very likely may the conditions during one if not both home games to open the season, the more advantageous it will be for the Bucs.
Joe can’t think of a Bucs coach who not want to use the brutal Florida sun as an advantage. Visiting northern teams from cooling climates (while the Midwest often gets hotter than Florida in the summer, by September, those sizzling temperatures slowly become rather temperate), just melt in the blazing sun and choking humidity.
If you have an awful team (see: Morris, Raheem) it doesn’t matter how hot it gets, you will still get taken to the woodshed by the likes of Charlie Batch. But if you have a decent or a good team, that weather becomes an advantage.