LAKE BUENA VISTA - All that glitters is Ian Gold at training camp.
The linebacker forced one of two fumbles and helped the defense stop the offense on five of nine tries from the 1 in a goal-line drill Wednesday.
"I'm back, baby! I'm back!" Gold said, skipping down the sideline after the hit on running back Brandon Bennett.
Gold, a free agent from the Broncos who had 130 solo tackles in 2002, is coming off surgery to repair a torn ACL in his knee. But he has made a big first impression this week.
"If you watch Gold play, he will pop you," coach Jon Gruden said. "He's going to thump you. I think all our fullbacks know where No. 52 is. We're not quite sure we want to run the isolation up the bubble anymore."
Traditionally one of the most competitive scrimmages in camp, the goal-line drill offered mixed results. MikeAlstott and Bennett lost fumbles. But Alstott scored on his next try.
"It was a great job by the defense doing that," Gruden said of the turnovers. "That's humiliating for an offensive team to come all the way down the field and get shut down. But we've got to do a much better job of securing the ball. For the most part, I was pleased other than the turnovers."
The fumbles fired up defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin.
"If you think about it, all these people spend millions of dollars to build stadiums, and they come to the game and spend $50, $60, $125, whatever you want," Kiffin said. "Club seats. But really, all it amounts to is football. If you don't carry that ball across the goal line, it don't mean nothing. Today, 1-yard line, knock that ball out, turnover, Bucs ball going that way!"
Gold's hit, which came on the final play, gave the defensive players an extra hour of curfew Wednesday night.
BILLY BALL: Receiver Bill Schroeder made a diving fingertip catch of a deep ball Wednesday that brought the crowd to its feet. Gruden said the 10-year veteran, signed during the offseason, has plenty of football left in his tank.
"Schroeder is doing some good things," Gruden said. "If there's one guy that's really been impressive because of the newness of it all. ... "He's a guy who's played a lot in big games. He's handled the ball a lot from ( Brett) Favre. He's been through a lot of experiences in his career."
COMMENTS ON HOLD: With Keenan McCardell missing his fourth practice, Gruden tried to order a cease-fire for the war of words. McCardell's agent has asked the Bucs to release the receiver.
"Everybody knows how I feel about Keenan, and who cares what I think about contracts and life in general," Gruden said. "We're going to keep playing here. ... "I don't want to paint a picture that is so bleak that we're held at gunpoint here. Edell Shepherd has been impressive. Joey Galloway was outstanding (Wednesday), truly outstanding. I think that's a good sign for us."
INJURIES: Defensive end Greg Spires is competing with second-year pro Dewayne White with one arm.
Spires has a torn biceps but continues to take all his reps.
"There's nothing you can do about it," Spires said. "You just have to let it heal." Considering all the injuries sustained in camp, Gruden said he appreciates Spires' effort.
"If you had to pick my favorite Buc, he might be one of them," Gruden said. "He doesn't say a word. Every down, you're in for a physical down of your life. It's probably the best compliment I can give him, is that he finishes everything. He finishes his breakfast. He finishes his dinner, and he finishes every play." Defensive tackle Anthony McFarland sprained his ankle in the morning workout and had precautionary X-rays. The injury is not considered serious. Left tackle Derrick Deese (foot) and guard Sean Mahan (ankle) did not practice and are day to day.
TRANSACTIONS: The team waived receiver Justin Skaggs, who pulled a hamstring Tuesday. The Bucs signed receiver James Williams, a fifth-year pro from Marshall who played in one game with the Lions last season. Williams has 29 career receptions for 410 yards and one touchdown.