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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Coach Lovie Smith defends Bears' travel plans



While the Bucs have been in the London area for nearly 48 hours already, conducting their first practice there today, the Bears -- Sunday's opponent -- remain in Chicago and won't depart until Thursday evening.

And Chicago coach Lovie Smith says he believes it's the right approach.

Asked today by Tampa media on a conference call whether the Bucs would have an advantage because of the longer adjustment period, Smith said, "No, I don’t. For us, we wanted to keep -- as much as we could -- a regular game-week routine in place. That’s what we’re doing. As far as getting acclimated, you can bog your mind down with all of that talk, but we’re going to go there and be there Friday. We’re leaving Thursday from here and that’s plenty of time.

"You can get as much rest as you need. We’re going to end up playing the game at 12 o’clock Chicago time. I don’t think that’s an issue at all. I think normally when you go overseas, I think the best football team normally wins. It’s kind of simple as that and that’s what’ll happen this time around."

In their first trip to London, in 2009, the Bucs left Tampa on Friday morning, arriving in London late Friday night local time. Then, on Saturday, their walkthrough was canceled because of rain in the area and a fear that the wet field at Wembley Stadium could be damaged.

So, this time around, the Bucs left Tampa on Monday morning, opting to stay in the London area for the week, allowing for a smoother adjustment.

"The reason I wanted to come out at this time was to get the guys acclimated, get them in the city," Bucs coach Raheem Morris said, "kind of get them on a normal schedule."

[Last modified: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 2:10pm]


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