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Sweltering Florida Heat And Tempo Is Schiano’s Recipe For Success

by Jason Clary, 1010 CBS Sports Tampa
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TAMPA, FL -  MAY 4: Running back Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes upfield during a rookie practice at the Buccaneers practice facility May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

TAMPA, FL – MAY 4: Running back Doug Martin #22 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rushes upfield during a rookie practice at the Buccaneers practice facility May 4, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)

Think of words that describe last year’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. Unorganized, uninspiring, losing, abominable…you get the gist. This year’s team hopes to be the perfect antonym to last year’s failure.

In the scorching heat of an early-afternoon Florida day, there was a sense of urgency in the coaches and players. It was a voluntary practice, but it had the feel of a training camp practice.

“We had a really good first week — guys are working hard,” coach Greg Schiano said. “Yesterday and today were good too.”

One of the most impressive parts of today’s practice was the overall organization of the entire team. Guys knew where to be and they got there in a hurry. Along with that, there was an emphasis on paying attention to the details. The team ran situational drives, specifically two-minute drills, which tested both the players and coaches.

“Well, I think if you take care of the little things the big things take care of themselves,” Schiano said. “But you can’t get paralyzed by the little things either. As a leader, you have to be the overhead view of things. I think it’s got to be a balance between those two.”

In the big scheme of things, Schiano has the right attitude to help this team win and win right now. It also helps to have a quarterback like Josh Freeman behind center.

Schiano mentioned that Freeman was looking good and working hard. The offense is a lot to grasp but he’s done well so far.

Buccaneers offensive lineman Donald Penn also made a comment about Freeman, saying “He wants everything to be perfect. We gotta sit back and tell him ‘Josh, it’s not going to be perfect right now. We still got time, but we like the way you’re working.'”

Buccaneers OTA’s has a lot of moving parts and a lot of different things going on, but one thing that was constant was coach Schiano’s refusal to even mention Kellen Winslow. He was asked several times about Winslow, and the replies were one in the same.

“One thing that I’m going to do over time here is when we do make decisions to do things, I’m going to hesitate to look back and just talk about and focus on guys that are here — guys that are Bucs right now,” Schiano said. “As of last night, Kellen is no longer a Buc. I like to focus on guys that are out here.”

One player that is a Buccaneer now is tight end Dallas Clark, who spent the last nine seasons with the Indianapolis Colts. Clark was available to the Bucs media today for the first time and definitely made a good first impression.

When asked about being signed with the Buccaneers, Clark said “Bottom line, I’m happy to be here.”

Since he was just acquired, Clark doesn’t know the offense yet. For the majority of practice, he was off to the side working with position coaches on running routes and getting acclimated to the toasty Florida weather.

Coach Schiano doesn’t mind the weather. In fact, he kind of likes it.

“When you get teams out there in that stadium and it’s really hot and you play high tempo and you push the envelope, I think it becomes an advantage, Schiano said. “That’s something that is important to me and I think that’s got to be part of our advantage”

Lots of positives can be taken away from the Buccaneers OTA’s so far. There is a lot of work to be done, but the team is in good hands with Schiano.

Below is an interview with Dallas Clark from today’s (May 22) practice.

Dallas Clark May 22

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