View photos of Buccaneers fans at Training Camp Practice at One Buccaneer Place.
It was the first day of open practice during 2018 training camp. Fans lined the perimeter of the outdoor practice fields at One Buccaneer Place, with just a thin yellow rope separating them from their favorite players practicing on the grass. The setting is much more informal now, with fans allowed to bring their own blankets and chairs to set up as they watch individual drills on two fields.
What made this practice drastically different from those in the past was the second half. After a quick water break to allow fans to file into the Buccaneers' new indoor practice facility, the team started up again with more team and scrimmage drills to the delight of the onlooking fans.
As soon as the players entered the facility, they were met with thunderous applause from the crowd, who was sitting in the brand new bleachers of the air-conditioned facility. From there, the atmosphere was almost game-like. Fans erupted in cheers when quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hit wide receiver DeSean Jackson on a go-route for another spectacular long catch by the veteran. Fans were also treated to a lengthy run up the middle by running back Peyton Barber and a great diving grab by veteran tight end Cameron Brate.
The cheering continued for all of the scrimmage drills. At one point during the latter periods of practice, the team moved to one-on-one drills where fans could look to one side of the field to see quarterbacks and receivers working on their routes while matched up against the secondary, or look to the other side to see the men in the trenches doing battle with one another for leverage. At the end, Buccaneers players then trotted over to the sidelines to sign autographs for awaiting fans.
The transition required a little bit of coordination on the part of the football staff, as well as the Bucs' event staff. After it was over, Head Coach Dirk Koetter thought all in all the process went well and made it much more comfortable for the fans.
"It's great," Koetter said. "Obviously, this part, being in here, is awesome for the fans because of the air conditioning. It's tougher outside. We tried to do the transition and I thought it went fine."
Each of the Buccaneers' five remaining open practices will be held both outdoors and indoors with the same setup. The indoor facility was completed this past offseason and has already paid off. The very first practice of training camp was moved inside due to inclement weather. In prior years, the team would be bussed to the University of South Florida or Tropicana Field, often after a significant delay, to hold practices with the unpredictable Florida weather. This is the first year fans are also getting a taste of the indoors during training camp.