Earlier = cooler: Bucs see value in morning practices
It seems like a smart decision for say, anyone who's been outside in Florida in the summer, but Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said his team will have morning practices through the final game of the preseason, hoping cooler temperatures will be less taxing on players.
"All the way up until the fourth preseason game, we're going to practice in the morning," said Koetter, taking a departure from afternoon practices common under Lovie Smith the last two seasons. "We did a little study, and in August when we're out here, it's on average 11 degrees cooler at 8:45 than it is at 2:45. I did quick Idaho State math and said 'Geez, 11 degrees cooler! Why won't we practice in the morning?'
Part of Smith's rationale in practicing in midday heat was that the Bucs' games were generally at 1 p.m., so it prepared them for game-time temperatures, but doing so can also take a physical toll as well. Koetter, who coached in Jacksonville and Atlanta before coming to the Bucs, said his history tells him that avoiding the hottest times of the day can have an advantage for players.
"Last 10 years I've been coaching in the South, and I really do believe there's a cumulative effect over the course of the season, from August until the end of the year," Koetter said. "When you're out here, even if it's for walkthrough and it's 12, 1, 2 and it's 95 degrees and the sun's beating on you. I just think there's a cumulative effect and we're going to try to do everything we can to chip away at that."
As for that "cumulative effect" -- in December games over the last five years, the Bucs are 3-21 in December and January games, as opposed to 20-36 in games played before December.