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Bucs sideline

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 9, 2001

May the force ...

Defensive end Simeon Rice was asked early in training camp what it was like to go up against rookie left tackle Kenyatta Walker. Rice, ever the confident one, said it was like a Jedi Knight training his apprentice. So friends in Arizona sent the ex-Cardinal toy light sabers. "There's one for each of the four (starting) defensive linemen," Rice said. "I guess we're all Jedi Knights."

Silent treatment

Speaking of Walker, the 6-foot-5 302-pounder who was the Bucs' first-round pick, said he hasn't heard any criticism from coach Tony Dungy. In fact, he hasn't heard anything. "I don't think Coach Dungy has said anything to me since I signed after being drafted," Walker said. "The person who has done the hollering is (offensive line coach) Chris Foerster, but you expect that."

Gainin' ground

It may not happen until about Week 8, but Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Brooks begins his march toward team history today. Brooks, with 942 tackles, needs 87 to pass former linebacker Hardy Nickerson (1,028).

Memo to Nickerson: In the past four seasons, Brooks has averaged 182.5 tackles.

Is this the year?

Promises, promises

Karl Williams did not return a punt or a kickoff during the preseason but is expected to handle both today. Williams, nicknamed the Truth, said he has gotten plenty of reps in practice. "I'm pretty confident ... that it's going to happen this year," he said of halting the team's streak of never returning a kickoff for a TD. When? "I'm going to say within the first 10 games."

Trivia question

How many games have the Bucs won in Texas Stadium? Answer below.

Stats of the week

Bucs are 10-15 on opening day, 2-5 under Dungy.

Since Brooks' first season with Bucs, Tampa Bay has limited opponents to 20 points or fewer 54 times, tops in the NFL in that span.

* * *

Answer: None. Tampa Bay is 1-8 against the Cowboys (the win coming last season) and 0-7 in Texas Stadium, including playoff losses after the 1981 and 1982 seasons.

The last word

"I think Warren Sapp (left) is an outstanding player and may be one of the best to play his position in history. ... He's a tough guy, he's fast and he's lost weight to try to get quicker. He has his eyes on the sack record and a Super Bowl." -- Cowboys coach Dave Campo

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