Lovie Smith Says It Felt Like Old Times Having Warren Sapp On the Field

Bucs coach Lovie Smith spoke to the media after day two of training camp and his overall message was a positive one.

(Opening statement)
“Nice to get a full practice in. It felt like today was our first practice to get in. Of course, I’ve talked about tomorrow being a padded day, so we needed to get a little work in, get some of the rust off to get ready for that a little bit. We’re not Carolina Panther ready right now, but we are getting a little bit closer there. Typical play: Josh McCown throws an interception. Great play by Mark Barron to intercept the ball. But Josh comes back and throws a touchdown to Vincent Jackson after that. That’s kind of how the day went – some good and bad, which you expect on your second day of practice. But good work. We had a couple of minor injuries. I don’t really know the extent of the injuries yet, but nothing major. We should be able to take the team that we want to see to the football field tomorrow and really get a good evaluation, but it’s always good to get something on video. Yesterday’s practice, we weren’t really able to get anything on, so we have good video, as coaches, to evaluate the guys from on this very step.”

(On the ceiling for Mason Foster)
“We talk a lot about the system and the history of the system. Mason knows. He can tell you all the linebackers that have played. It is a pretty special group. But the ceiling for Mason, I don’t know. Not so long ago, this summer, showing some of our past highlights from last year, his interception return for a touchdown last year against the Saints was just about as good as any play you’ll see a Mike linebacker make. I asked him to drop a little bit of weight and he did that. Looks like he’s a little bit quicker.”

(On if Foster can reach the same playing level as Brian Urlacher)
“Now that’s putting a little bit of pressure on him. But in time. He didn’t really have to go north to get that pressure. His coach, Hardy Nickerson, played [Mike linebacker] about as well as anyone, and Shelton Quarles is right down the way too. But in order for us to play the way we need to, he’ll need to up his level to that.”

(On Jeff Demps’ speed and how it plays into the offensive gameplan)
“Right now, as far as how he fits into the gameplan, we’re looking at a lot of different players and trying to see what their role will actually be. I know I’m watching the wide receivers and when [Jeff Demps] comes up, I hear the crowd ooh-ing and ahh-ing about something. And I know that when a linebacker is on the other side from him on one-on-one drills, they get back pretty far – a lot farther than they normally will. But you see Olympic-type speed from him. Don’t know what his role will be yet. We don’t know a lot of the guys’ role but they’ll start telling us tomorrow.”

(On his early impressions of Johnthan Banks)
“As a rookie, you’re going to have some mistakes and you’re going to have some plays that give you hope for good things to come and that’s what I remember from him. Very good size, coachable guy. Good hands. All the traits you look for in a good cornerback, he has [them]. He doesn’t have Jeff Demps-type speed, but of course most people don’t. Again, I’m anxious to see. It’s good competition. Mike Jenkins is a good corner. I could rail off about six corners we want to see how it plays out.”

(On the progress of Austin Seferian-Jenkins)
“He’s playing catch-up, but he’s catching up. He made some good plays out there today. Good size. Mentally, he stayed in the game. If you talk to him, you’ll see that’s not going to be a problem for him. You notice him size-wise too. Yeah, it’s catch-up, but I think he’ll be able to do that.”

(On the performance of Dashon Goldson during training camp so far)
“You did see him in most of the drills and that was the plan. We want to get him incorporated into everything, but we limited his reps. We had him start off and that was pretty much it. We’ll be able to progress a little bit with his reps. But I was impressed with his movement yesterday and today. He’s a very smart football player too. We’re going to ask an awful lot [of him]. It’s our Mike linebacker and our free safety – they make most of the checks, most of the calls. They’re our Hardy Nickerson and John Lynch. He has great knowledge and we know he’ll hit. We’ll get him to lower that target.”

(On how the players reacted to having Warren Sapp out at training camp today)
“It’s hard not to know that Warren [Sapp] is in the house. It seemed like old times. I turned around and [heard], ‘Hey, Love.’ Took me back to 1996. I looked around and I saw Hardy Nickerson there. Warren Sapp, I loved every day that I was around him. Seeing how a Hall of Famer plays, but how he practices. Warren Sapp practiced as hard as anyone. And for a defensive lineman, when he comes around, it has to pick you up a little bit.”

SOURCE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media