TAMPA — It isn't often a fourth-round pick from the previous draft class mixes it up with the tryouts during a rookie minicamp.
But that's the case this weekend with DT Dre Moore, who spent 2008 on the Bucs' practice squad.
"He's starting to look like a guy I want to say I want to count on him," coach Raheem Morris said Saturday. "I'm not saying that yet. Hopefully, the next time I talk to (reporters), I'll be able to say I can count on him.
"Sometimes, he has that little space cadet look. But that's a little bit about being young and the little stuff that drives coaches crazy and what you've got to smack out of them. But I'm fired up for the kid."
The 6-foot-4, 307-pound Moore, who played at Maryland, reported to rookie minicamp a year ago out of shape and struggled with the heat and humidity.
"I wanted to fight him coming off the field last year, he was in such bad shape," Morris said. "Not even close to an issue right now.''
Moore, 23, could be a better fit for the new defensive scheme, which doesn't require defensive tackles to penetrate as much as hold up linemen at the point of attack.
MILLER TIME: Defensive coordinator Jim Bates said despite DT Roy Miller's 6-foot-1, 315-pound frame, he's plenty strong enough to hold up blockers inside in the new scheme.
"Roy Miller did a good job rushing the passer at Texas, but he's more of a run-stopper," Bates said. "He had 51/2 sacks. He's an awfully strong young man and can get some push, which is important with how quick the ball comes out in today's game.
"The main thing is being able to hold the gap, keep linemen off the linebackers and taking up space. He's not the tallest guy in the league. But if you look around the league, you see there are a lot of successful guys that are shorter, stronger guys that are hold-the-point guys."
Bates said it helps that Miller has a chip on his shoulder after lasting until the third round.
"I like that from players, especially linemen," Bates said. "I like tough guys with something to prove. He's got something to prove to all of us and his teammates, and there's nothing wrong with that."
NEW FACES: Boston College TE Ryan Purvis was at One Buc Place on Saturday, one day after being in Eagles camp as a tryout. Ten minutes into Friday's workout, he learned the Bucs were willing to sign him to a contract.
They also invited Louisville WR Pat Carter (a graduate of St. Petersburg's Lakewood High) and USF guard/center Jake Griffin to try out. Morris said he plans to sign four or five players from the minicamp.
SMITH TRADE FALLOUT: Morris said the trade of TE Alex Smith is a sign of how strong the position is with the offseason acquisition of Kellen Winslow. Smith went to the Patriots on Thursday for an undisclosed 2010 draft pick.
"We had four starters, in my mind, on our team at tight end," Morris said. "Usually, you only carry about three. Alex was going to be a valuable guy, and if Alex was going to be on our team, we probably would've carried four because of how talented he is.
"You get a chance to pick up a future draft pick and hopefully not lose anything at the tight end position. You do it to make the team a little better the following year."