DT Warren Sapp and the Buccaneers did enough offseason preparation to make the coaching staff feel prepared heading into training camp
Trades, major free-agent signings, NFL Europe stars, a new offense, packed voluntary workouts...the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2000 offseason has seemingly been busier than the season itself. It has also seemed long to those football fans who think the Bucs may be in for their best season ever.
Well, it's just about over.
In less than three weeks, the Buccaneers will report to training camp for the 25th time; once again, that camp will be held at the University of Tampa and it will be fully accessible to the team's fans. Those who can make the trek to the school's Pepin-Rood Stadium during the three weeks that the Bucs will be on campus can get their first extended looks at Keyshawn Johnson, Jeff Christy, Randall McDaniel, Cosey Coleman, Nate Webster and the rest of the Bucs' newcomers.
Head Coach Tony Dungy, currently in Swaziland as a participant in the 'Brooks' Bunch – Africa 2000' trip assembled by Pro Bowl LB Derrick Brooks, is as eager as the team's fan base.
"If we can keep that energy going and keep that work ethic going (from the offseason)," said Dungy, "we've got enough talent to get where we want to go. I really like where we're sitting right now.
"I've been excited in camp the last three years really. I just think this is an extension of it. Hopefully, it will be like this every year, where you're anxious to go because you think you can do some real good things."
As new as it may be for the Bucs to head into camp as a legitimate Super Bowl contender, what happens at the University of Tampa in July and August should be familiar to those who have attended previous Buc camps. Throughout the Bucs' ascension over the last five years, Dungy has stuck steadfastly to the schedules and systems he installed early on, believing in the advantages of continuity. That extends to practice and meeting times.
"I don't think it will be too, too different," said Dungy. "It won't be different than what we've seen in the past. The tempo that we work at, the style...I like it. We've got to change a few things because we're playing some Friday and Thursday games, but overall camp should be very similar to how it's been in the past."
That means fans can count on most weekdays containing a pair of two-hour practices, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. As usual, the Bucs will also alter the schedule on a few days to include an evening practice. This year, those evening practices will occur on Wednesday, July 26 and Monday, August 14, beginning at 7:30 p.m. each time. A full daily schedule of practices can be found below.
That evening practice on August 14 will conclude the Bucs' 2000 training camp. Players will check out the following day and practices will resume at the team's One Buccaneer Place headquarters on Wednesday, August 16. As usual, all workouts from that point forward are closed to the public.
Perhaps the point of most interest for Buc fans who choose to attend training camp practices will be the installation of new Offensive Coordinator Les Steckel's system. Dungy and his staff feel confident that the work put in by the team at mini-camp and during voluntary summer workouts has them headed to camp with a head start.
"What (Steckel) did was try to bring his system here and put it in," said Dungy of the Bucs' spring and early-summer efforts. "Now it's up to us as we go into camp to find the right spots for guys and fine-tune and really narrow the system down to what these guys can do."
That process will begin with check-in and team meetings on Sunday, July 23, when all veterans and rookies report to camp. There will be no activities for the public on check-in day, but the open practices will begin promptly on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. The school's Pepin-Rood Stadium has an approximate capacity of 3,500, and there is ample parking throughout the campus, including in a lot across from the stadium.
Pepin-Rood Stadium is located on North Boulevard just north of Kennedy Boulevard near downtown Tampa. Visitors approaching on I-275 should take the Ashley exit through downtown Tampa, then turn right on Kennedy to go over the Hillsborough River. The University of Tampa campus stretches along the north side of Kennedy just across the river from downtown; North Boulevard is approximately a mile from the river along Kennedy.
The first two of the Bucs' four pre-season games will fall during training camp, vs. Washington on Friday, August 4 and at Miami on Thursday, August 10, meaning there will be no camp activity on those days. The Buccaneers will also hold two days of joint practices with the Miami Dolphins at Orlando's Citrus Bowl during camp.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2000 Training Camp Practice Schedule
(Most practices are approximately two-hours long, though some afternoon workouts are shorter. Practice times are subject to change without notice.)
|Monday, July 24||Practice #1: 8:30 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Tuesday, July 25||Practice #1: 8:30 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Wednesday, July 26||Practice #1: 8:30 a.m.||Practice #2: **7:30 p.m.**|
|Thursday, July 27||Practice #1: 3:30 p.m.|
|Friday, July 28||Practice #1: 9:00 a.m.||Practice #2: 4:00 p.m. (at Orlando's Citrus Bowl)|
|Saturday, July 29||Practice #1: 9:00 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:00 p.m. (at Orlando's Citrus Bowl)|
|Sunday, July 30||No practice; players' day off|
|Monday, July 31||Practice #1: 8:30 a.m||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Tuesday, August 1||Practice #1: 8:30 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Wednesday August 2||Practice #1: 8:30 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Thursday, August 3||Practice #1: 10:30 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Friday, August 4||Pre-season Game #1: vs. Washington at Raymond James Stadium, 7:30 p.m. kickoff|
|Saturday, August 5||No practice; players' day off|
|Sunday, August 6||Practice #1: 11:00 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Monday, August 7||Practice #1: 8:30 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Tuesday, August 8||Practice #1: 8:30 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Wednesday August 9||Practice #1: 10:30 a.m.|
|Thursday, August 10||Pre-season Game #2: at Miami, 7:00 p.m. kickoff|
|Friday, August 11||No practice; players' day off|
|Saturday, August 12||Practice #1: 11:00 a.m.||Practice #2: 3:30 p.m.|
|Sunday, August 13||No practice; players' day off|
|Monday, August 14||Practice #1: 8:30 a.m.||Practice #2: **7:30 p.m.**|
|Tuesday, August 15||No practice; players break camp|