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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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QB 'ready' but rough in debut
By JOANNE KORTH, Times Staff Writer
Published September 10, 2007
SEATTLE - When a woozy Jeff Garcia dropped to one knee after a hit to the helmet, backup QB Luke McCown hurriedly began to warm up his arm.
And he came out throwing.
McCown played two series, nine plays, in relief in the second half. It was McCown's first regular-season game action since joining the Bucs in 2005.
His results were spotty.
McCown was 1-of-4 for 9 yards passing, scrambled for a 9-yard gain and was sacked twice for a total of 5 yards.
"I felt ready," said McCown, a fourth-year pro who missed last season with a knee injury. "You really have to give Seattle's defense a lot of credit. We expected them to play a little differently than they did as far as coverage. They played a lot of zone."
McCown, who had a habit of holding the ball too long in the preseason, pulled it down several times against the Seahawks. Then again, so did Garcia.
"They covered a lot of our options down the field," McCown said. "This was certainly a tough place to open. But we've got to find a way to make plays."
Bruce Gradkowski was the inactive No.3 quarterback, and Chris Simms did not dress.
RARE ROOKIE: Safety Tanard Jackson became the first rookie defender to start on opening day since DE Regan Upshaw in 1996. Jackson, a fourth-round pick, played most of the first half but gave way to 2006 starter Will Allen in the second.
"I knew they would bring Will in at some point," said Jackson, who had three tackles and one pass defended, plus two special-teams tackles. "They just wanted me to get a feel for it. It felt good. There are definitely things I can improve on, learn from."
PHANTOM WHISTLE: Referee Larry Nemmers gave the Bucs a rare do-over after punter Josh Bidwell held onto the ball because he thought an official had blown the play dead.
Turned out, it was a noise from the stands.
Bidwell was surrounded by Seahawks while holding the ball at the Bucs 40. Rather than let the play stand, officials decided to repeat the down.
"Larry Nemmers came over and said, 'In fairness, I can't let this play go on,'" Seattle coach Mike Holmgren said. "It really hurt us, but had it been my punter in an away stadium, I would hope they would handle it that way."
MIXED REVIEWS: The offensive line, which featured new starters Luke Petitgout at left tackle and rookie Arron Sears at left guard, at times gave Garcia plenty of time to throw.
But not always.
"I thought they did some good things," coach Jon Gruden said. "We moved the ball well in the first half. It was hard to communicate, hard to hear, and you forget that Seattle's a talented defense. Overall, it wasn't all bad."
Right guard Davin Joseph was called for four penalties - two holdings, a false start and a chop block - though two were declined.
"We had a couple of questionable calls and we had a couple where we weren't on the same page, but it happens," Joseph said. "It was decent, but we didn't rise to the occasion. We have to get better."
BUC BITS: Linebacker Derricks Brooks made his 177th consecutive start and defensive lineman Kevin Carter his 100th. ... Matt Bryant moved into sole possession of fifth place for career field goals with the Bucs with the first of his two. He has 40 since joining the Bucs in 2005.