PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – MAY 28
By Leo Haggerty

SIGHTS & SOUNDS OF BUCS WEEK 1 OTA

For the first time since August of 2020, I was approved to attend a Buccaneers practice session in person at the facility. That’s nine months if you do the math and I had to make sure you, my loyal readers, knew that the OTA I was watching was not the Organized Tom Activities down the street.

Below are the conversations I had with the Tampa Bay coaching staff during the first week of OTA.  Enjoy.

HEAD COACH BRUCE ARIANS

LH :  I know you have Robert Hainsey at center so far.  Does the fact that he can play three positions on the offensive line give you more flexibility?

BA : There is no doubt. He’s a five-position player.  He can play right and left. He’s got to quit snapping that thing to the quarterback’s fingertips though.  Too many balls were on the ground today. But yeah, he’s a great position flexibility guy.

LH : Is one of the main goals of the OTA seeing how much these new guys can retain?

BA : That was really Rookie Mini-Camp. Now it’s about you should be able to retain it. Now play and show us what you’ve got on tape.  These practices for DBs and wide receivers and all others than offensive linemen and defensive linemen.  This is very critical practice for you to make the team.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR TODD BOWLES 

LH ; How important is it to get these young kids acclimated to Tampa Bay weather especially those from up north?

TB : It’s important because it’s hot down here.  It gets hot for the coaches.  Even for the people who are from here, it gets hot.  The first couple of days, especially with these guys taking a lot of reps, they have been shell shocked by the weather but they regroup.  They come back in better shape so they can play ball.

SPECIAL TEAMS COACH KEITH ARMSTRONG 

LH : Last year, for the first time in a long time for the Bucs, there wasn’t a question mark next to the kicking game with Ryan Succop.  You have a holder from Clemson and a kicker from South Carolina and the Tigers and the Gamecocks don’t get along.  Were there some interesting conversations in your room between them?

KA : Yeah but both of them are men of God so they keep it to a minimum.  There is some trash talking going on at times so yes.  I don’t want to elaborate on it but yes.

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS COACH LARRY FOOTE 

LH : When you look at a guy like Tryon, is he better with his hand in the dirt or as a coverage guy?

LF : He’s going to have to do both in our 3-4 system.  We have the mentality around here that the more you can do the better.  One of his strengths in college is that he did drop a little bit but, in the 3-4 system, you make your bacon getting after the quarterback.  If you can show some flexibility.  You can drop into coverages.  Cover guys sometime.  The more that happens the bigger our package gets.

LH : Do you have any concerns about Tryon opting out and losing a year of football or does that just mean that  there’s more tread on the tire going on?

LF : No, I think the PAC 12 was a little different.  I know they were late in the year when they committed to play.  That put him in a little bit of a limbo but, if you watch his tape, he’s a football guy.  He plays with a motor.  He’s relentless.  Again, if you watch his tape, you can tell this kid loves football. He loves the smaller parts of it like flying to the ball and jumping in.  Giving up his body and make plays.  When you see that, and that he opted out, you don’t think twice about it.

The following hots were provided by photo journalist Trace Crisp.