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.
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.
Back to the Bucs
Bucs'He can get it done'
Chucky's Chalk Talk
Bucs have argument of their own
High Profile -- Tom Tupa
Brown willing to protect his assets
Sapp's hit stirs up differing emotions
RaysCan Piniella build bridge to Tampa fans?
LightningLightning is out to sustain edge against Rangers
Title defense in Miami's sights
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
Stewart handles change well
Highs & lows
St. Anthony's Triathlon
Hampton eyeing new start
Carolina wins, takes over first
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