Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers minicamp features a BCS title game reunion

TAMPA — QB Jordan Jefferson would probably like to forget about the last time he shared a field with S Mark Barron.

Barron and Alabama held Jefferson and LSU to 92 total yards in a 21-0 win in the BCS national title game Jan. 9. The Tigers crossed midfield once, with 7:58 left in the game, and Jefferson went 11-of-17 for 53 yards and one interception.

When the Bucs' rookie minicamp began Friday, there was Jefferson as a tryout player and Barron beginning his career after being a first-round draft pick last week.

Barron, who made two tackles in the title game, spent most of Friday on a separate field

"I actually didn't have a chance to see him that much," Barron said. "He's a good player, a good quarterback. So I wouldn't mind having him (on my team) at all."

Jefferson and other undrafted players were unavailable for comment.

Coach Greg Schiano said he was intrigued by Jefferson and wanted to take a closer look: "He's a big, strong-armed athlete that we wanted to see just where he is in his development as a quarterback."

MINICAMP, MULTIPURPOSE: The Bucs are using the rookie minicamp to accomplish different goals for different players.

Drafted players such as Barron, CB Keith Tandy (sixth round), LB Lavonte David (second) and LB Najee Goode (fifth) learn drills and techniques that will help them during offseason workouts and training camp.

Undrafted players who were signed, such as Iowa State CB (and ex-Largo High QB) Leonard Johnson, are being evaluated on how they might help the team. Meanwhile, a group of about 40 tryout players have a chance to earn an invitation to training camp.

"We're utilizing all three fields," Schiano said. "Our draft picks, we know, are going to be with us (at camp). So we're teaching more in-depth techniques to them.

"The other two fields we're … doing some drills that we normally wouldn't do at Buccaneers practice but drills you would do if you went to work a guy out at a college campus.

"(Friday) was real productive. I think we gathered a lot of information."

RUTGERS REUNION: Schiano isn't afraid to reach back to his roots for coaches and players. That includes former Rutgers DT Gary Gipson, 29, a backup for the Rams last season who signed Thursday.

Gipson, born in Plant City and raised in upstate New York, had three sacks in 16 games (one start) last season. He started 16 games for the Rams in 2010 (no sacks) and also has played for the Ravens and Panthers.

"Gary is an incredibly hard-working guy," Schiano said. "He trains back in New Jersey. So I know the people who train him, and I think he can help us. I think he can add depth. Competition's always good."

Times staff writer Stephen F. Holder contributed to this report.

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