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)

Former USF Bulls star Matt Grothe excited about first day of Tampa Bay Buccaneers minicamp

TAMPA — Perhaps five minutes into talking to reporters Friday after his first practice since September, QB Matt Grothe had to stop and collect himself, overcome with the emotion of a day in a Bucs uniform.

"It's just something I love to do. The last eight months have been a big struggle for me, but I'm trying to come back strong," said the former USF star, one of 49 tryout rookies hoping to earn a free agent contract during the three-day minicamp.

"It's live practice, and I'm back at it. It's something I've missed, something I'll never regret. … A lot of kids dream to be in these shoes, so I'm just going to not take it for granted and do what I can to try to stick around."

Grothe faces long odds — the Bucs have four quarterbacks on their roster, including undrafted rookie and former Mississippi starter Jevan Snead. But in a short time, especially coming back from a knee injury that ended his senior season after just three games, he has turned a few heads at One Buc Place.

"I was very impressed with Grothe," coach Raheem Morris said. "Listening to him get into a huddle, you understand why he was in control of his team, why he was a guy over there at South Florida that ran the show. Just talking to him, he has the lingo of a quarterback, the mind of a quarterback, the personality of a quarterback.

"He lacks some size (Grothe's listed at 6 feet). I like picking on him a little bit. I told him to stand up when he was behind center. I like messing with my guys. You're talking about a sharp guy, a guy who has a lot of wins under his belt, a lot of yards. … I can see why."

Grothe admitted having his share of jitters at his first practice, wearing the uniform of the team he grew up cheering for in Lakeland, in the shadow of the same stadium he played in for four years with the Bulls.

"It's extremely nerve-wracking," Grothe said. "It's the NFL. It's not college or high school. A couple of plays, I'd go up there and I'd have to step back for a sec, because I was shaking. … I'm just so anxious to get out here because it's been so long. I couldn't let myself calm down. I'm going to work on doing a better job of that (today). Everybody's flying around at 120 mph, and I was a little out of my own league. … It's a chance for me to come out here and prove I can play."

WILLIAMS FLASHES: Some Bucs staffers felt fourth-round pick Mike Williams was good enough to warrant a first-round grade were it not for his character questions.

So, maybe it should be no surprise that the receiver showed up big in minicamp practice, making two head-turning catches and turning in a solid performance. Williams was sure-handed on a day where there were plenty of drops, and his speed was evident as well.

"He flashed today," Morris said. "There's no doubt about that. Going across the middle and snatching the ball out of the air. He's big. He's fast. He did a nice job of finishing. He caught a couple of little short passes and took them all the way to the end zone."

Though his football prowess was unquestioned, the upstate New York native still has work to do in acclimating to the Florida heat. He missed the end of practice with a painful calf cramp.

"You have to train you body to be able to play in this heat," Morris said. "He'll learn and he'll get better."

LORIG OUT: Seventh-round pick Erik Lorig, a defensive end from Stanford, sat out with an injured pectoral muscle he suffered before the draft.

Former USF Bulls star Matt Grothe excited about first day of Tampa Bay Buccaneers minicamp 04/30/10 [Last modified: Friday, April 30, 2010 11:01pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tampa lawyer Fred Ridley to be new chairman of Augusta National, Masters' home (w/ video)

    Golf

    AUGUSTA, Ga. — Fred Ridley first came to Augusta National to compete in the 1976 Masters as the U.S. Amateur champion, and he played the opening round in the traditional pairing with the defending champion, Jack Nicklaus.

  2. Rays send down Chase Whitley, Andrew Kittredge; add Chih-Wei Hu, acitvate Alex Cobb

    Blogs

    After having to cover more than five innings following a short start by Austin Pruitt, the Rays shuffled their bullpen following Wednesday's game, sending down RHPs Chase Whitley and Andrew Kittredge,

    The Kittredge move was expected, as he was summoned to add depth to the pen Wednesday in advance of RHP Alex …

  3. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred moves closer to wanting a decision on Rays stadium

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred called Wednesday for urgency from Tampa Bay area government leaders to prioritize and move quicker on plans for a new Rays stadium.

    MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred talks with reporters at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Wednesday's Rays-Blue Jays game

    The Heater

    The Austin Pruitt experiment might be over, or at least put on pause. After allowing six runs over seven innings to Seattle on Friday, the rookie didn't get through the fourth Wednesday, giving up five runs on four homers. His ERA for past six starts: 5.29.

  5. Six home runs doom Rays in loss to Blue Jays (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — A curve that didn't bounce was the difference Wednesday as the Rays lost 7-6 to the Blue Jays in front of 8,264, the smallest Tropicana field crowd since Sept. 5, 2006.

    Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria (11) greets center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) at the plate after his two run home run in the third inning of the game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.