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By ROGER MILLS, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 1, 2002

Walker wants to put on a show this week

Since the schedule came out, Kenyatta Walker has looked forward to this game in New Orleans. Walker, from nearby Meridian, Miss., is expecting about 50 family members and friends to attend. He also is familiar with two Saints defensive linemen.

"This is a big game for me, no doubt," Walker said. "I've been waiting for this game. (Saints defensive tackle) Kenny Smith and I grew up together and played on the same high school team. So we know each other. (Defensive end Charles) Grant, I played against him a lot and beat up on him a lot at Georgia."

But the game has another meaning. Walker was benched for the season opener against the Saints and has been eager to prove he's much-improved since.

"Things are coming along, and I'm starting to feel like I'm doing the things they brought me here to do," he said. "I have something to prove. I don't care who's out there, whoever lines up on the opposite team, there's enough bad film on me and so it's time to get some good film."

SOME INSIDE STUFF

-- Insiders remain tight-lipped about how the team's newest inspiration -- the Rock -- got from One Buc Place to Raymond James Stadium last weekend. Coach Jon Gruden is sticking to his theory that DE Anthony McFarland, recovering from a broken forearm, is responsible. "With that rock, I don't know how it gets places," Gruden said. "That McFarland, he works in mysterious ways."

-- In Atlanta on Oct. 6, Tampa Bay's only other game in a dome this season, the Bucs had a tremendous following, estimated at about 10,000. Tampa Bay may not have that many in New Orleans, but a strong showing is expected. "It's just going to be another big stage on Sunday," LB Derrick Brooks said. "We have a good following over in New Orleans as far as our fans. I think we have proven we can go on the road and play in hostile environments."

WHEN LAST THEY MET

In the season opener Sept. 8, the Bucs defense gave up 386 yards to the Saints in a 26-20 loss in overtime. The Saints scored the first 13 points of the game and led 20-10 with three minutes left before the Bucs came back to tie on an 11-yard TD pass to Joe Jurevicius and a 40-yard field goal by Martin Gramatica as time expired. But on their third possession in OT, the Bucs were pinned deep, forcing Tom Tupa to punt. The Saints nearly blocked it and Tupa's attempted pass was intercepted by James Allen in the end zone, giving the Saints the win.

GO FIGURE

3.4: yards a carry Bucs averaged in opener against Saints.

19.5: sacks DE Simeon Rice has in past 17 regular-season games.

360.7: average total yards Saints are giving up a game.

950: rushing yards for Saints RB Deuce McAllister.

1,015: rushing yards for Bucs.

THE LAST WORD

"Not here, not in this locker room. Too many veterans are on this team. There are too many professional guys here, players and coaches, and throughout this whole organization. We spoke about it, it's over with and we have to move on. We have."

-- Al Singleton, starting outside LB on whether the Warren Sapp/Mike Sherman incident ever became a distraction.


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Today's lineup

Bucs
  • 'He can get it done'
  • Chucky's Chalk Talk
  • Bucs have argument of their own
  • Side line
  • High Profile -- Tom Tupa
  • Brown willing to protect his assets
  • Letters: Sapp's hit stirs up differing emotions

  • Rays
  • Can Piniella build bridge to Tampa fans?

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  • Lightning is out to sustain edge against Rangers

  • Other sports

    College football
  • Title defense in Miami's sights
  • Rix elixir
  • Husker dud may cost jobs on coaching staff
  • Big East: West Virginia quarterback tops his rival at last on bigger stage
  • State: Marks fall for Knights
  • ACC: Terps feeling peachy after battering Wake
  • C-USA: Freshman RB leads TCU to Liberty
  • I-AA: Bethune-Cookman falls in first round
  • Big 12: OU blows fragile shot at title game
  • SEC: Volunteers extend dominance of 'Cats
  • Pac-10: Trojans take fight to Irish
  • Nation: UNLV ends season with upset victory vs. Colorado State
  • Game's allure falters with clubs' fortunes
  • Florida let opportunity go by
  • Florida/Florida State quotebooks
  • Kid has big day for FSU
  • Florida/Florida Stateby the numbers

  • More sports
  • Stewart handles change well
  • Highs & lows
  • St. Anthony's Triathlon
  • Sports briefs
  • Hampton eyeing new start
  • Carolina wins, takes over first
  • NHL Slapshots
  • Hawks can't handle Magic
  • Mickelson leads Skins after Day 1
  • French take Davis Cup lead at 2-1
  • Texas goes inside to wear out Seton Hall
  • Duke cruises; UCLA falls to 0-2
  • LSU can't close gap against Texas A&M
  • Self-taught Cougar tops county
  • Seahawks say best revenge is a victory
  • It's time to cast about for schools of mullet
  • NFL Game Day: Week 12
  • Outdoors: Daily fishing report
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