tampabay.com

The daily grind

By JOANNE KORTH, Times Staff Writer
Published August 8, 2007


Something in the air

After four straight days of searing heat at Disney's Wide World of Sports complex, coach Jon Gruden moved the Tuesday morning practice to an air-conditioned hotel ballroom nearby. The two-hour workout amounted to an in-depth walk-through that tested players' minds while allowing their bodies to rejuvenate.

"It was a good mental day for us and that's something that I need and definitely appreciate," quarterback Jeff Garcia said. "How coaches approach the game today, I think they give guys a little bit more of a break. We've had a very difficult camp in the sense of the heat and the conditions. I think guys have battled through it very well. But it was nice that Coach threw us a bone, gave us a break."

This has been a kinder, gentler camp than in recent years - for some. After seeing positive results from giving veteran receiver Joey Galloway several practices off during the preseason, coaches have adopted the same approach with other veterans.

But by Tuesday, Day 12 of camp, even young players began to show signs of fatigue -- sore muscles, aching joints and overall weariness.

"We got about 170 reps," Gruden said. "We looked at a lot of things, a lot of above the neck work today. There were some quarterbacks I wanted to stay away from throwing and ... some guys I wanted to keep off their feet a little bit."

The team was back outside for afternoon practice, and it was a scorcher. The on-field thermometer read 111, the hottest day yet.

"It is hot, man. Hot!" Gruden said. "Too hot to go outside."

Quotable

"First NFL game. I'm speechless right now."
-- Rookie linebacker Quincy Black on Friday's preseason opener

Aches and pains

Middle linebacker Barrett Ruud (knee) did not practice, but Gruden has not ruled out the possibility he will return today and play in Friday's preseason opener against New England.

Joanne Korth, Times staff writer

Bucs camp schedule

- Practices are free until moved to Tampa starting Aug. 17 - Games air on Ch. 8