Bucs practice notes
Guest of the day
Joey Nelson, an 18-year-old Orlando resident and lifelong Bucs fan, wrote an essay for his UCF college application on coach Raheem Morris and leadership. It worked, as Nelson is a UCF freshman studying journalism. The essay also led to him being a guest at Monday's practice, getting to chat with Morris for about 15 minutes on the field. Turns out, Nelson ran into offensive coordinator Greg Olson a while back in St. Petersburg, and told him about the essay. Morris found out about it and the Bucs invited Nelson out. Nelson, who went to four Bucs games last year, said it was a lot of fun learning the ins-and-outs of practice.
Drill of the day
One of the more action-packed drills of Monday afternoon's padded practice was a pass protection drill, where running backs were set to simulate picking up a blitz from a charging linebacker. Both running backs coach Steve Logan and coach Raheem Morris provided commentary, and the RB Kregg Lumpkin and LB Adam Hayward had some physical exchanges.
"It's awesome, I love it," Hayward said. "To get to hit, it's been a while. Took Lumpkin off his feet, so that was fun. It gives them confidence to step up and take on the backers. I just try to go downhill on all of them so they get used to it."
Coach Raheem Morris is the first to say how much he loves QB Josh Johnson as a player, and what a great teammate is he is in accepting his role as backup to Josh Freeman. Though Morris would like to have Johnson continue to be Freeman's No. 2 long term, he understands why the former University of San Diego star would explore starting opportunities as a free agent next year. That being said, Morris is excited to see what Johnson shows this preseason.
"We have all kinds of packages to put him on the field — as a quarterback, put him on the field as a receiver," Morris said. "We're thinking about different ways to get him out there, you may see him at safety, I don't know. He's that athletic and that talented, we love him a lot."
Joe Smith, Times staff writer