TAMPA — Here's the ugly truth about rookie training camp: For the franchise, it's an exercise in self-gratification.
For the undrafted free agents, it's a final opportunity. For the tryout guys, it's mostly a fantasy camp.
Bucs coach Raheem Morris and GM Mark Dominik are enjoying watching eight of their nine draft picks (Stanford DE Erik Lorig is recovering from a chest muscle injury) run circles around the other guys assembled for three days of workouts.
There are plenty of smiles, pats on the back and attaboys being spread around One Buc Place.
But it isn't all madness to this method.
Since January, most college players have been focused on training for the scouting combine, pro days or both. But this is not a week for the 40-yard dash, bench presses or the high jump.
It's football in the Florida heat. It's long days that start early and end with sore bodies.
It's orientation without the pressure of trying to keep up with veterans.
"These guys have been training for the Olympics, for the (scouting) combine," Morris said. "A lot of people do this camp for scared straight reasons. You bring them in, you want to scare them straight, you want them to know how it is.
"For me, it's about teaching these guys the grind of meetings. This is what you don't really get in college with the 20-hour rule. You get limited amount of time in college with these guys, so they're not used to the grind of coming to work at 8 o'clock in the morning and having to be in the building and having to go get treatment. … Then you get them on the field and try to run them until their tongues fall out of their mouths, so they go home and are a little scared and know I've got to get in shape because it can only get worse from here. And it does."
A ONE AND A TWO: Arrelious Benn was taken in the second round, Mike Williams arrived in the fourth. Both wide receivers have played as advertised. But from first glance, there's not much that separates their talent.
In fact, after a few minicamp practices, there appears to be little doubt that the Bucs got a bargain in Williams.
"He flashed," Morris said. "Going across the middle, snatching the ball out of the air, plucking it. He's big, he's fast, he did a nice job of finishing. He took a couple of short passes and ran them all the way to the end zone."
Williams was forced to leave practice a little early Thursday because dehydration caused a cramp in his calf muscle.
"The first day I wasn't hydrated because I'm usually a guy who says, 'I don't need no water until after practice,' " Williams said. "That's how I roll, but not out here. That's how I got a cramp on the whole side of my body. It started in the calf, first. But they gave me the IV and I'm fine.
"Like I say to everybody, I've got something to prove on and off the field," Williams said. "This is me going to prove what I have to prove. Every day you're going to see the same thing. I'm going to work hard and hopefully go out there and make some plays."
QB OR NOT QB: Early prediction: The Bucs will bring Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead to training camp.
The undrafted free agent has shown enough to deserve a chance to compete for the third spot with Rudy Carpenter.
"Generally, you bring four (quarterbacks) to camp," Morris said. "You never say what you want to bring. It's more or less what you need. You like the competition. A lot of people know you normally keep three. Some teams keep two. Generally, you like to have four arms in camp because there's a lot of throwing, a lot of running. You'd like to have your nine-on-seven's and have them down there working on ball handling. You'd like to have them for the QB-center exchange. There's a lot of things you can do with quarterbacks."