Nuggets From Bucs OTA PracticeMay 15th, 2012
The New Schiano Order was quickly established at One Buc Palace this morning for the Bucs’ first OTA practice after the draft. It was a stark, stunning contrast from practices of the past few years.
Rigid. Detailed. No wasted time. Players moved with a sense of urgency. Fundamentals were not just stressed, but demanded and polished in drills.
- “Avoid contact. Be smart. Do it the right way. To be the best you have to be your best right now,” Schiano bellowed. Joe’s guessing Ric Flair is smiling somewhere.
- It was very much like a college atmosphere. Lot of clapping from all the players during drills. Lot of yelling too, almost like a boot camp. Lot of enthusiasm.
- “Attitude, attitude!” Schiano yells as practice drills begin. Then, a player Joe couldn’t make out felt the wrath of the New Schiano Order for not completing a drill to its fullest extent.
- It’s not just the players who are expected to sprint between drills and stations. So too is Schiano. He watches practice at one field, then bolts to another field for a better view.
- What appeared to be the first team defense in a scrimmage of sorts against the first team offense, first round pick Mark Barron was out there, to no one’s surprise. Aqib Talib and Ronde Barber were the corners and Ahmad Black as the remaining safety.
- How much of a stickler to fundaments is Schiano? He had his players go through a tackling drill that Joe performed (daily) in high school. Four dummies were spread out in a line to represent holes a running back would run through. A ballcarrier would run paralell to the dummies as would a defender. The runner would go through each hole and the defender, with shoulders squared to the line of scrimmage, would wrap-hit the runner properly, wrapping his arms round the runner like Joe would Rachel Watson in a sweaty, heavy-breathing intimate moment. Then the two would disengage and run to the next hole and repeat the tackle/wrap-up. The way the Bucs horribly whiffed on tackling last year, this drill is sorely needed.
- Defenders weren’t the only ones who had to endure a high school fundamental drill. Offensive linemen had to run drills through a cage of an apparatus that kept the linemen low to the ground. If they raised up too quick, they got a rude if not jarring awakening.
- Running backs were not immune to the fundamental drills. Catching passes from quarterbacks, they too had to square their shoulders to the ball, then take off, biting the football.
- Joe’s not sure what wide receiver Sammie Stroughter did wrong in one pass play but Joe’s pretty sure the priests at nearby Jesuit High School could hear Schiano yelling from their classrooms, “Use your arm, Sammie!”
- Joe still is shaken at the sight of LeGarrette Blount catching so many passes. Why, Greg Olson had so many convinced Blount had the hands of a Helen Keller. Oh, and Blount was biting the football.
- Seventh round pick, running back Michael Smith, got some reps in with the first team and, man, the dude has some quick feet.
- There’s the Bucs version of the Packers sweep and Moises Madu scoots for a nice gain to the left.
- George Johnson was getting a lot of work at left defensive end.
- In one offensive line drill, pass blocking dummies were placed between each lineman’s feet so that on his first three or four steps backpedaling, he couldn’t step on a dummy. This was to improve footwork.
- Remember the touchdown catch Mike Williams made in his first NFL game against the Browns at home in the 2010 opener? He duplicated that same circus catch this morning for a touchdown.
[Clarification: Just to be clear, in Joe's description of the tackling drill above, at no point is the runner put on the ground. Once the defender wraps up properly, the two combatants disengage. It's almost like a walk-through exercise.]