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Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
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Schiano makes quick impression in first Bucs workout

TAMPA - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had just begun the stretching portion of their first minicamp workout Tuesday when Greg Schiano set the tone for what life will be like with the new coach. Perturbed by several players' failure to line up properly, Schiano stopped the stretching drill and shouted, "Football is about details and it starts here. Toes on the edge (of the line), toes on the edge (of the line)." Thus began the practice phase of the Schiano era, which from the looks of things will include a strong emphasis on details and a demand for hustle that was often missing during former coach Raheem Morris' reign. "If you have to come out of (this first workout) with one thing, you want them to understand the tempo with which we will practice and the attention to detail that is required to play this game effectively," Schiano said.
"The schemes will come. We have time, although not a lot of it, where we will rep it and learn it and rep it and learn it. But to get the tempo right and the attention to detail (down), that's the biggest thing we wanted to do today." Players were not made available for interviews following the workout, but it's hard to imagine the message Schiano sought to deliver after two weeks of classroom work didn't get through. The defense, for example, ran — quickly — from the stretching phase to an adjacent field, where they were put through a pursuit drill in which 11-man units hustled en masse to one side of the field before turning and hustling to the other. That drill lasted for about three minutes, at which point the entire team ran to yet another field for a field goal drill and a fake field goal drill in which holder Michael Koenen threw a touchdown pass to tight end Luke Stocker. Experiments like that were another big part of the team's first workout with Schiano, a former Rutgers coach who was hired in January to replace Morris after he produced a 17-31 record in three seasons. In addition to working on the fake field goal, Schiano worked 16-year veteran cornerback Ronde Barber at safety during some drills and also had strongside linebacker Quincy Black work at middle linebacker. "We are going to try different combinations and try to figure out what the best combinations are,'' Schiano said. "That will take a little bit of time, but you can't take too long because guys have to create a comfort level for themselves. But now is the time to mess around." It is also a time to get serious about football again, and judging by the attendance at the voluntary workout, the Bucs players realize that. Schiano said only one player from the group expected to attend failed to show. "We'll figure that out and get to the bottom of it," said Schiano, who did not name the player who was missing and also listed kicker Connor Barth as a no-show. Barth was designated the Bucs franchise player earlier this year, but he has yet to sign the one-year, $2.6 million guaranteed contract that accompanies the designation. Without Barth, the Bucs on Friday added a kicker to their roster, signing former UCLA standout and 2010 Lou Groza Award winner Kai Forbarth, who was claimed off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys. What Barth missed, Schiano said, was an opportunity to build his relationship with his new coach, who said he was mostly pleased with what he got from his team on its first day back on the field. "I was pleased with the way that they worked," Schiano said. "Maybe they couldn't do it all, but they tried and that was the biggest thing to me."

rcummings@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7979

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