Sapp, McFarland take turns with offense
By RICK STROUD, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 24, 2003
|[Times photo: Toni L. Sandys]
Fans clamor for autographs at the end of the afternoon practice. The Bucs take the field today from 8:35-10:45 a.m. and 2:45-4:45 p.m.
Anthony McFarland and Warren Sapp are in the final year of their contracts. Now they can ask to be paid as two-way players.
The Bucs defensive tackles lined up on opposite sides as tight ends during a goal-line drill and led the blocking for a 1-yard touchdown run by Mike Alstott in the Wednesday morning workout.
"Both Anthony and Warren played in our goal-line attack and were productive," coach Jon Gruden said. "We knocked it in for a touchdown. We're going to continue to work at that, it doesn't mean it's going to become a reality. We've got to prove it's the right thing to do and we've got plenty of time to do that."
McFarland said he had not played on offense since his freshman year at Louisiana State, when he took a few snaps at fullback.
"Somebody said, "Hey, you might get in on offense,"' McFarland said. "I said, "That's good. Once you become a two-way player, you get paid more."'
HOLD THAT LINE: The wager by Gruden was simple: Win the goal-line drill and the opposing coaches run.
In a full-speed, full-contact drill, the Bucs offense scored three touchdowns in seven plays on first and goal from the 3-yard line.
So after practice, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, linebackers coach Joe Barry and secondary coach Mike Tomlin led the rest of the defensive staff on sideline-to-sideline sprints.
"You could see the coaches were running some gassers and there were some other side deals, but we won't get into those things," Gruden said. "The offense won. All three groups were successful offensively scoring touchdowns and that's what needs to be done when you get the ball inside the 2- or 3-yard region. We were able to do that today, and for that, you get rewarded."
Alstott and rookie free agent Earnest Graham scored on 1-yard runs and tight end Rickey Dudley caught a play-action pass from quarterback Brad Johnson for the other score.
THE MATCH GAME: A year ago, Gruden boldly set a goal of nine defensive touchdowns for the defense, which it accomplished. Linebacker Derrick Brooks led the way with five interceptions returned for scores, including one in the Super Bowl.
Can the defense match that number of scores or topple it?
"I think so. You just have to set a goal for yourself," linebacker Shelton Quarles said. "If you don't set a goal, you don't know what you can do. That's the goal we have this year. Match (the number of defensive touchdowns) from last year or improve it.
"(Gruden) hasn't set a goal for us this year yet. We had an opportunity to get 13 last year, so maybe that will be the goal this year."
BUCS BITS: South Carolina coach Lou Holtz attended the afternoon workout. ... The second practice was delayed by rain for 20 minutes. ... Sapp invited 150 children from the Florida Citrus Sports Camp to visit training camp and joined them for a QB Killa Vanilla Milk Drink prepared by the Florida Dairy Farmers.
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