The Bucs traded pads for shells and shorts Wednesday as they finalized preparations for Friday’s preseason opener at Jacksonville. It was done so that players could have fresher legs under them come game time.
After ten straight days in pads, the players spent most of practice going over their lineups, play-by-play. At times, there was some action, although no contact, but for the most part, it was a glorified walk-through after days of increased intensity.
“We’re anxious to play,” said head coach Lovie Smith. “You can only hit your teammate so hard. I’m anxious to let our defensive linemen go. You haven’t seen us with any live blocks below the waist and just being able to finish plays. We have a depth chart and we think we kind of know, but you need to get to this next step.”
The team had a walk-through at the stadium Monday, but they still need to work on headphone communication between the press box and the sideline, which is crucial because Smith’s coordinators will be in different parts of the stadium.
Offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford will call plays from the press box while defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will be down on the sideline.
“I think for us it’s a whole new situation for everybody, it’s a new system, new players and all of that,” said quarterback Josh McCown, who is scheduled to start the game and will play about a quarter.
“I think it’s just going out and executing and being clean with things procedurally. No. 1, I think you want to break the huddle and do the things that you normally do in a game and feel like the communication is clean and all of that. Execution-wise you want to be clean on that as best you can.”
Just don’t expect to see a whole lot in the way of game-planning or elaborate play-calling from Tedford. They’ll keep some elements of his new offense under wraps.
“In these games you don’t gameplan for people,” said McCown. “And obviously you’re not rolling out your best stuff, but within the rules and within the framework of your system, you want to try and execute it as best as possible – that’s the key for us Friday.”