Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Notebook

Bucs' Buenning tries to make up for lost time

MIAMI — Dan Buenning joined the Bucs as a fourth-round pick in 2005 and immediately joined the starting lineup at left guard.

But since then, it has been a winding road for the former Wisconsin Badger, with a knee injury cutting short his 2006 season and his languishing on the fringe of the roster in 2007.

Saturday in Miami, Buenning made his long-awaited return to the lineup, playing extensively at center and showing the impressive toughness that made him a stout run blocker as a rookie.

The Bucs always had high hopes for Buenning, especially after 2005 when he was one of only four rookie linemen to start all 16 games that year. The thinking was he would be part of the future as the Bucs began rebuilding their line. But his injury on Thanksgiving Day in 2006 left his future in doubt.

By the time Buenning recovered, the Bucs had spent a second consecutive first-day draft pick on a guard (Arron Sears), and first-rounder Davin Joseph was coming off a superb rookie season.

That left Buenning on the outside looking in, with the Bucs leaving him inactive for all 16 games last season.

Perhaps that's why he showed so much aggression toward the Dolphins, entering the game on the third offensive series and playing well into the second half. He stood up well despite having a nose tackle lined up directly in front of him in the Dolphins' scheme. Jeff Faine's $37-million contract ensures he will be the starting center for some time to come, but Buenning's ability to bounce back could prove valuable to the Bucs given his versatility.

In the mix is rookie Jeremy Zuttah, who figures to get more extensive playing time as the preseason progresses. He and Buenning are in direct competition.

DYNAMIC DUO? The Bucs used Micheal Spurlock and rookie Dexter Jackson on kickoff returns, giving the Bucs two potential game breakers in their effort to improve field position. The move didn't yield spectacular results — the longest return of the night was Jackson's 21-yard runback.

They also split punt-return duties, with Spurlock taking the first couple of turns.

But it's expected that Jackson will supplant him as the preseason progresses — or at least that's the plan, according to coaches.

Rookie free agent Clifton Smith also got a look as a punt returner. On his first attempt, he slipped a couple of tacklers and scurried 30 yards to the Dolphins 43.

INJURIES, ETC: Injured veterans Jeff Garcia (calf), B.J. Askew (foot), Jovan Haye (groin) and Joey Galloway (groin) did not make the trip, remaining in Tampa for rehabilitation.

Their absences required a few lineup changes beyond the one at quarterback, where Luke McCown started. Ryan Sims started for Haye at defensive tackle, and Maurice Stovall started at split end for Galloway.

The Bucs opened the game without a fullback, where Askew was missing. They instead chose to use a two-back set of Warrick Dunn and Earnest Graham. That could potentially be a combination they use in the regular season.

HOMETOWN KID: Tampa's Brian Clark scored the Bucs' first touchdown on a 3-yard pass from Brian Griese. Locals might recall Clark starring at Chamberlain High, where he helped lead the Chiefs to the 5A state championship game as a senior.

Bucs' Buenning tries to make up for lost time 08/09/08 [Last modified: Monday, August 11, 2008 3:21pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …