Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Butch Davis to work for ESPN this fall

Butch Davis, left, spent the past two seasons as a special assistant to Greg Schiano, right, on the Bucs' coaching staff.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Butch Davis, left, spent the past two seasons as a special assistant to Greg Schiano, right, on the Bucs' coaching staff.

Former college and NFL coach Butch Davis, who spent the past two seasons as a special assistant to Greg Schiano on the Bucs' coaching staff, said Tuesday he will be working for ESPN this fall as a college football studio analyst.

Davis, 62, said he will be on camera for 16 Saturdays in Bristol this fall, working for ESPN, ESPN2 and other platforms, from the morning pregame shows until kickoff of the network's prime-time game. He'll stay in Bristol to work eight Sunday mornings as well, wrapping up the weekend's college football and looking ahead to the NFL games as well.

Davis, who has worked previously with the NFL Network, said he'll also be part of ESPN's "bus tour" roundup of college visits in August leading up to college football season. He may also work some in studio during some Thursday night college football games and bowl games as well.

Davis has been head coach at the University of Miami, with the Cleveland Browns and the University of North Carolina, where he was fired in 2011 after the program was involved in an academic scandal. He joined Schiano's staff in February 2012 but was not retained with the rest of Schiano's staff after the team went 4-12 in 2013. 

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Notes: Bucs among NFL's lightest up front on defense

TAMPA -- The Bucs hope to make 2014 very different from 2013 in many ways, but one interesting change looks to be a smaller, faster front seven on defense.

Speed on defense is a Lovie Smith trademark, and depth-chart analysis by Philly.com had the Bucs with the second-lightest front seven in the NFL -- actually the lightest if you correctly move defensive tackle Clinton McDonald into the starting lineup.

Whether that correlates to success on the field remains to be seen, but the Super Bowl champion Seahawks have the sixth-lightest front seven in those same rankings, with the Colts and 49ers also in the league's eight lightest.

While the Bucs have 13 offensive linemen listed at 300 pounds or more, there is just one defensive player on roster weighing more than 300 -- second-year defensive tackle Akeem Spence, who is  just 307.  Compare that to the Ravens, who have three defensive tackles over 335, or the Jets, who have three over 345. …

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After Graham ruling, Seferian-Jenkins jokes he's 'WR'

After Wednesday's news that Saints star Jimmy Graham would get the franchise designation as a tight end and not a receiver, with his own identification on his Twitter bio factoring in an arbitrator's ruling, other NFL tight ends are careful how they're listing themselves online.

Somewhere between savvy and silly, Browns tight end Jordan Cameron decided to call himself a "Pro Bowl pass catcher" -- nothing inaccurate there, of course -- and we pointed out that Bucs rookie Austin Seferian-Jenkins and veterans Luke Stocker and Brandon Myers were still proudly calling themselves tight ends on their Twitter bios.

Seferian-Jenkins, reading that, changed his bio to identify himself as "WR for the Tampa Bay Bucs!" and responded to our tweet with a playful "updated lol." …

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Bucs' Evans working to drop weight before season

TAMPA -- Mike Evans now has just three weeks until the Bucs report for preseason training camp, even less until rookies are due back in town, but the first-round pick from Texas A&M is hard at work at getting himself in shape for the 2014 season.

"Physically, I'm not in tip-top shape. I'm getting back into my game shape," said Evans, who is training in Miami with a group of players that includes Bears receiver Brandon Marshall. "As far as injury-wise, I feel good. I've been running, and I feel 100 percent."

Evans missed much of his first month of practice with the Bucs with a hamstring injury suffered on the first day of voluntary minicamp on May 20. He was able to return in a limited capacity for the team's mandatory minicamp last month, and he expects to be fine when camp starts July 25 at One Buc Place.

Evans is training for two weeks in Miami at Fit Speed Athletic Performance, and he said his focus is dropping "7 to 10 pounds" with a goal of playing at about 230 pounds this fall. He was measured at 231 pounds at the NFL combine after playing at about 235 at Texas A&M. …

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Fox Sports picks Bucs dead last in NFL countdown

Fox Sports -- which is scheduled to televise 13 of the Bucs' 16 games in 2014 -- has opened its countdown of all 32 NFL teams by introducing ... the Bucs in dead last at No. 32.

Here's a seven-minute video of Fox analysts discussing the team's prospects -- it doesn't line up much with the preseason pick, with optimism about Lovie Smith bringing a new attitude to the team and praise for new additions Josh McCown, Michael Johnson and Alterraun Verner. There's little explanation for picking the Bucs to take a step backward, other than mentioning the uncertainty the offensive line has at guard.

The video has good insights -- former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher talks about playing for Smith, and how the Bucs are likely to use defensive tackle Gerald McCoy as a catalyst in the new defense. If the Bucs don't show any improvement from their 4-12 record in 2013, or even take a step backward, then you can give Fox Sports credit for anticipating that ... 

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Five position battles to watch in Bucs camp

TAMPA -- The Bucs have been so active this offseason that now exactly half the 88 players on roster -- 25 veterans and 19 rookies -- have signed with the team since the hiring of Lovie Smith in January. With half the locker room comprised by newcomers, the battles for the final spots on the 53-man roster will be wide-open in August, a sign of the improved depth at most positions from a year ago.

Here are five position battles to keep an eye on, with less than a month before the Bucs open preseason camp July 25.

BACKUP RB: Lovie Smith carried only four total running backs each of his last three years with the Bears, and the Bucs have strong depth here, with starter Doug Martin and rookie Charles Sims as perhaps the only locks to make the roster. Bobby Rainey and Mike James, who each topped 150 yards in games after Martin's injury last year, are battling with speedy Jeff Demps -- even without carrying a fullback, one of those three could miss the cut. Helping on special teams, especially on returns, could convince coaches to carry a fifth back on the 53. …

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Revis moving on from Bucs, excited about Patriots

LAKE BUENA VISTA -- Darrelle Revis can smile and laugh about it now.

With a new future in New England, buoyed by a healthy offseason, the former Bucs cornerback looked back Thursday on his lone season in Tampa, appreciative of a team that embraced him and disappointed he couldn't have found success there.

"Every coach has their own philosophy and coaching style. It could work, it could not work. It didn't and we went 4-12," Revis said of former coach Greg Schiano. "The result is 4-12. That's what you get. It's already spoken what happened. A lot of us got fired."

Revis, who turns 29 next month, is back in Florida this week as a guest instructor at the Drew Brees Passing Academy at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex at Disney. Cut by the Bucs in March, he signed a new deal with the Patriots, where he's eager to try to get Tom Brady and Bill Belichick their first Super Bowl win in 10 years.

Asked what he'll miss about his time in Tampa, Revis quickly answered "the weather," but added that he also built friendships that remain with his Bucs teammates, players he still stays in touch with now. …

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All in: Bucs sign rookie TE Seferian-Jenkins

The Bucs have their entire six-player 2014 draft class under contract, with second-round pick Austin Seferian-Jenkins officially announced as signing his rookie deal on Thursday.

Seferian-Jenkins, a tight end from Washington, had agreed to terms on his contract last week, but wasn't in Tampa so he had to mail the signed contract to Tampa. Because Washington's school calendar operates on the quarters system, Seferian-Jenkins hasn't been allowed to practice with the Bucs except for a three-day rookie minicamp due to an NFL policy designed to keep players in school their final spring.

The Bucs also formally announced the signing of former Baylor and Panthers receiver David Gettis, who was with the team for its three-day mandatory minicamp as a tryout player last week. He's the second tryout player to sign from that group, following former Cardinals defensive end Ronald Talley.

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Bucs' Brooks honored at Sneaker Soiree

Amid a busy summer of accolades, former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks was honored Wednesday night with the Lee Roy Selmon Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tampa Bay Sports Commission's fourth annual Sneaker Soiree.

Here's the full story from Thursday's Times ...

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Bucs sign ex-Panthers WR Gettis, waive two

TAMPA -- The Bucs have signed former Panthers receiver David Gettis, who turned heads as a tryout player at the team's minicamp last week, and waived rookie linebacker Steven Jenkins and tackle Emmett Cleary.

Gettis, 26, had a productive rookie season with Carolina in 2010, catching 37 passes for 508 yards and three touchdowns, but hasn't caught a pass in the last three seasons due to injuries. He spent the 2011 season on injured reserve with a torn ACL and was limited by hamstring injuries the last two years. Gettis has good size at 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, and has a sprinter's background, having won state titles in the 400 meters as a high schooler in California.

Gettis joins a deep group of Bucs receivers competing for roster spots -- veteran Vincent Jackson and rookies Mike Evans and Robert Herron are safe bets to make the team, but the remaining spots are a battle between veterans Louis Murphy and Lavelle Hawkins, returning Bucs receivers Chris Owusu, Eric Page, Skye Dawson, Russell Shepard and Tommy Streeter and rookies Solomon Patton and Quintin Payton. …

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Bucs sign top pick Evans, fellow rookie Sims

TAMPA -- The dollar figure was no surprise, the signing well-anticipated, but it was still a precious moment for Mike Evans when the Bucs' first-round pick signed his rookie contract on Thursday.

"It's a big relief. I'm already a part of the team, but it feels good to have it on paper," said Evans, who was the draft's No. 7 overall pick out of Texas A&M.

Evans signed a four-year deal with an option for a fifth year, as all first-round picks do under the league's new collective bargaining agreement. Multiple reports had the contract as a $14.6-million deal, fully guaranteed, with a signing bonus of $8.96-million.

"It's a blessing. I've never seen so many zeros," he said. "It's a dream come true. I was just thinking about my family, being able to help them out."

Evans, who has been limited by a hamstring injury over the last three weeks, said he'll spend time with his family and then train in Miami in preparation for the start of preseason training camp on July 25. …

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Sno-cone! McCoy cools off Bucs with post-practice treat

Anthony Collins was the first player to get shaved ice as a treat following minicamp today at One Buc Place.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Anthony Collins was the first player to get shaved ice as a treat following minicamp today at One Buc Place.

If you wanted a sure sign of the happier, more laidback Bucs of 2014, you need only look to the corner of the practice fields at One Buc Place on Thursday afternoon, where defensive tackle Gerald McCoy celebrated the end of minicamp by renting a "Kona Ice" shaved-ice truck for the team.

"How often do you get to end it with a sno-cone?" said Lovie Smith, who gave the OK to McCoy's kind gesture. "That was the topping on the cake a little bit. ... Great idea. I talk to the guys about getting their body fat down ... for a day like today, we're not going to count calories. Guys left with a smile on their face."

McCoy said he likes to treat his teammates like family, and his wife had so craved the shaved-ice recently that she asked him to stop a truck as they were driving. He asked the driver if he could get him to come to One Buc, and the rest was history.

"It's a family here," he said. "These are my brothers, this is my family. We've been working hard since April, we're all about to go on break. I figure it's hot out here, I'll do something nice for my family."

The Times' Daniel Wallace has great shots of Bucs players Anthony Collins and Josh McCown enjoying McCoy's hospitality.

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Bucs sign first-round pick Mike Evans

The Buccaneers have signed first-round pick Mike Evans, the team announced Thursday afternoon.

Evans, a 6-foot-5, 231-pound receiver, was the seventh overall pick in last month’s draft out of Texas A&M. He started all 26 games in his college career and tallied 151 receptions for almost 2,500 yards and 17 touchdowns.

He has been limited in action this offseason after tweaking his hamstring during an organized training activity workout last month.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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McDonald proud to share White House story with Bucs

TAMPA -- Like many guests, Bucs defensive tackle Clinton McDonald admits he pocketed a napkin, complete with the presidential seal, when he visited the White House last month with the rest of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.

He left with much more, however, and as Tampa Bay sets its sights on returning to postseason glory, McDonald was proud to share to his new teammates how it felt to meet President Obama and enjoy the perks of being a champion.

"It was a special moment. You could really see that hard work pays off," said McDonald, 27, a key offseason free-agent signing for new coach Lovie Smith and his staff. "For a lot of guys, it's just a dream. For the reality of me actually being able to go, to be a part of that, to come back and share that experience, it gives hope to the guys that if we work hard, if we dedicate ourselves to our craft and take this serious, we could be there too." …

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Defense finishes strong with picks at Bucs minicamp

TAMPA -- The Bucs' improved depth at cornerback has shown up at minicamp this week, with second-year pro Rashaan Melvin getting a pair of interceptions, including one in the two-minute drill at the end of practice.

"I guess if you're on the defensive side of the ball, you feel pretty good about how we finished today," coach Lovie Smith said. "The offensive side, of course, can't turn the ball over in those situations."

Melvin, a 6-foot-2 corner from Northern Illinois who spent last season on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, is battling with veteran Danny Gorrer (who had a strong practice Tuesday) and others for backup spots in an upgraded secondary.

"Every day it seems we talk about one of the corners," Smith said. "You see the way we practice. Guys are stripping the ball right up until the end. It's about taking the ball away. To a man, they'll talk to you about that. As the head football coach of our defense, that's a great job to finish a game off like that."

The Bucs wrap up their three-day minicamp Thursday, with six weeks until the team reconvenes for preseason camp on July 25. Smith said finishing workouts with positive momentum is a key for him and his players. …

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