Tampa Bay Buccaneers

A Peek Inside

The Buccaneers' annual yearbook will be a special treat for fans in 2010 thanks to a new approach that focuses less on statistics and bios and more on how the players and coaches feel about their lives in the NFL...The yearbook, excerpted here, will be available once the team hits training camp

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Demar Dotson stands 6-9 and 315 pounds, and his parents thought he was crazy when he gave up his college basketball career for a shot on the gridiron as a senior at Southern Miss.

You can learn that first set of facts easily enough; a click on the team roster here on Buccaneers.com would do the trick. The family's reaction to his sudden career switch back in 2008? That only comes out in conversation with Dotson himself.

Fortunately for Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans who would like to know a little bit more about what is going on inside the heads of the players and coaches, such conversations have recently taken place. And they'll soon be in print and available to Bucs fans everywhere through the re-fashioned 2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Yearbook.

Team yearbooks have long been a popular keepsake for NFL fans, and most assume a similar format, with large pictures accompanying biographical information and statistics. This year, the Buccaneers have taken their yearbook in another direction that will provide hours of enjoyable reading for fans, replacing the usual bios with extensive and personal Q&As with most of the team's players and coaches.

Below are excerpts of the new yearbook, including Q&As with Dotson, wide receiver Sammie Stroughter and Special Teams Coach Richard Bisaccia. Why was a late move to injured reserve the best lesson of the season for Stroughter? What is on Coach Bisaccia's 'Bucket List?' What teammate does Dotson most admire and why? Read on.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2010 Yearbook will be available shortly, after the team has reported for training camp later this month. Watch Buccaneers.com for more information on how to obtain this year's exciting new keepsake.

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Demar Dotson

After having played just one season of football at Southern Miss, how did it feel to make the Buccaneers' roster as an undrafted rookie last year?

It was the experience of a lifetime to go from being a college basketball player to being an NFL football player. I never would have imagined this two years ago, because I always had my mind set on being a professional basketball player. Now I thank God every day that I have the chance to be involved with football for years to come.

What do your parents think about you playing in the NFL?

When I told them I was switching to play football for my senior year in college, they thought I was crazy, but they still supported me. They have always supported everything I've done throughout my whole life, so when I ended up in the NFL they were excited and have been behind me all the way.

Does your basketball background help you with your football skills?

It really does help. I think that basketball players are some of the best athletes in the world. You've got to have a lot of things to be a good basketball player. It helps me with my footwork, my hand-eye coordination, agility and moving side to side. It also gave me a good start when I began playing offensive tackle.

While in college, did you receive any pro offers for basketball?

My coach was trying to get me to go to Europe to play professional basketball, but there were no NBA offers. Ever since I was a young kid, I had dreamed of playing basketball, but I eventually realized it wasn't going to happen. Of course, I ended up being a professional football player, so I think it all worked out.

Do you ever play basketball with any of the other Bucs?

Well, most of the guys think they can play, and they're always trying to challenge me. I just look at them like they're crazy, because they just don't realize what they're saying!

Do you have any nicknames?

Everyone calls me Dot.

What player on the team do you admire?

Cadillac [Williams]. He's come through so much with his surgeries, but had a great season last year. I saw him play and he ran the ball hard. To see a guy overcome so much and still return to playing with a lot of heart is unbelievable. He's a great guy for the whole sport of football.

What are your feelings about social networking?

I don't Twitter or do blogs or any of that. I don't think anyone needs to know what I'm doing all the time.

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Sammie Stroughter

What was it like to have a strong rookie season after coming in as a seventh-round pick?

It's all just stepping stones to me. I'm always going to work to make a positive impact on and off the field. I have a great opportunity here in Tampa and I'm going to run with it. In my mind, I'm not a seventh-round pick-I belong. I'm always going to play like I have a chip on my shoulder, though, because you have to until you really prove yourself.

How did you prepare for the change from college football to NFL football?

I talked to a lot of veterans. I have some friends who play in the NFL who helped me prepare mentally and physically, but it all comes down to the fact that it's football. Everywhere you go is going to have the goalposts and the lines, so you just prepare to overcome tougher competition.

What moment is most memorable from your first pro season?

The Green Bay game. It was our first win, which was huge. I think it's easy to take winning for granted. I was always on a winning team in college, and then to have a rough start to my first pro season really humbles you and pushes you back to basics. To come in against Green Bay in our throwbacks and see how receptive all the fans still were and to see how much the win meant to the community and the team was amazing.

How did moving from the West Coast to the East Coast change things for you?

It was a change, definitely. The weather here is a lot nicer, for one! The people are great-they have that Southern hospitality going on. I also love that everything is more affordable than in California. I didn't have trouble adapting, though, because I'm willing to adapt and change to anything, especially when it's about football. The hardest thing is that I don't get to see my family as often, being so far away. I do what I can to stay in touch by using Skype and things like that, and I try to visit for important events, but even when we don't get to spend a lot of time together, we know we're all together spiritually.

What did it mean to you to join former OSU teammate Sabby Piscitelli on the professional level?

Sabby and I were really close at Oregon State. Being able to come to Tampa and play with him again was really special. He helped me learn about what to expect from a professional season, how to take care of my body with the increased demands and he was always there for me. He still is.

How do you handle constantly being in the spotlight as an NFL player?

You have to really humble yourself. As hard as you work to get to this place, to be in the NFL, it only takes a moment to ruin everything. It's easy to get caught up in the fame and fortune of it. I try to overcome that by keeping my foundation strong and making sure I spend time with people who are like-minded. It's especially easy, when you're young, to lose your focus and just think about having fun. I try to stay humble and my faith gives me a foundation and structure, and helps me keep my focus on the long-term.

What did your first year in the NFL teach you?

I learned a lot of things, but going on injured reserve at the end of the season taught me the most. I was a seventh-round draft pick and I got to play right away, so I've never really had to sit down and watch. When I was forced to do it, it gave me a new perspective. It reminded me that my body is my business and I really have to take care of it and to have patience and trust. I've recovered great, though, and am excited to have a full, healthy season in 2010.

You were named one of the "Most Fun Athletes to Watch" by Sports Illustrated while in college. Why do you think that was?

I think it's because I play with a lot of passion. I'm not the biggest guy on the field, but I have a real spirit of love for the game, and I keep a smile on my face because of that.

Outside of football, how do you like to spend your time?

Video games! Madden is my favorite; I'm pretty good at that one. I'm also trying to get into cooking. I love to eat, so I thought it would be good to learn to cook, too.

What are your feelings about social networking?

I stay away from it. It seems like a fast way to get in trouble. I don't need all my business out on the street.

After your career in the NFL ends, how do you want to be remembered?

I want to be remembered as a person who gives back. I'm starting to work on some things to really contribute to the community and that is something that excites me. I want to be able to give someone a jump-start. I don't think that it's right for me to keep everything I've been blessed with-that isn't how I was raised. I want to give back in a lasting way.

Superpower of choice?

I love my life how it is-I don't need a superpower!

What is the best and worst part about being a pro?

The best part is all of the friendships you make and the connections with other players. It's really a close-knit community among all the players in the league. The worst part is probably whenever you have to deal with contracts or that sort of thing.

Funniest coach or player on the team?

Coach Rah. He's always got something funny to say, and he's the kind of guy who I'm glad to have as my head coach because I can always go to him about anything on or off the field.

What is one item on your "bucket list?"

I want to go to Miami. I haven't been yet and I'd like to.

Why do you love football?

That's really difficult. I guess that I love football because it's my dream come true. A lot of people have to work a job that they really don't enjoy, but I can honestly say that I wake up every day with a smile on my face and am eager to come to work and do what I love.

Is there a teammate who you admire?

My big brother, Sabby Piscitelli! He's a professional on and off the field and his mindset and the way he handles himself can't be beat.

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Richard Bisaccia

What attracts you to working with special teams?

There's just a great energy about special teams and it's a spot that appeals to your ego, because you get to game-plan the whole game.

Why is the special teams unit in Tampa sometimes called the "We-fense?"

I believe I've borrowed that term from somewhere, but it really just fits special teams, especially the kind of unit we try to have here. At any time in a special teams unit, you could have a linebacker who is lined up with a running back who is lined up with a safety. That could happen on a kickoff, during a punt, whenever. Despite their different positions, those players all have to play together like they have a string attached between them. So it's not just an offensive unit or a defensive unit out there...it's a group, it's all of us, it's a we-fense.

Is it difficult to work with so many different units and players?

No, I wouldn't say it's difficult. It's actually a really great thing, because it allows me to be around all of the players. I can get a feel for all the different positional players and how they might fit into the puzzle that we put together on special teams. So I think that it is one of the best parts about being a special teams coach.

How did you go about learning all of the techniques necessary to instruct all of the different positions?

One of the advantages of having been around football for some time is that back when I played, many guys worked both sides of the ball. I was fortunate enough to have coaches who instructed me both offensively and defensively, and then when I became a coach myself, I had the chance to work with positions on both sides. All of that different experience gave me a chance to put together many ideas and techniques needed to work with a variety of players.

What are your feelings about social networking?

My kids make fun of me because I'm not big on any of those things-I barely even text. I'm not much of a technology guy.

What is one item on your "bucket list?"

I want to go to the Grand Canyon with my wife and kids and do one of the week-long camping trips where you raft the river and camp out each night.

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