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COACHSPEAK // Some of Tony Dungy's first comments as coach of the Buccaneers

On the Bucs' uncertain future in Tampa Bay:.

"We all hope that the team plays here in Tampa. I think from what I've seen it's an ideal place to play. I'm a traditionalist. I would prefer everything stays as is, but that's really not my concern as a coach. My concern is to get the ball team ready to play the best football it can play. Hopefully it's here, but if it's not, then we have to work with that as well."

On his chances of buying a house in Tampa Bay:

"Well, I hope pretty good. I don't know what the cost of living here is, but I think I'll be able to afford one."

On prospects of re-signing linebacker Hardy Nickerson:

"I've not talked to Hardy yet. That's one of the first things I plan on doing. I had Hardy for two years in Pittsburgh. I had tremendous respect for him, and I think he's going to be a key to what I want to do defensively. I think he knows that, but I'm going to make sure he does."

On his offensive and defensive philosophies:

"If you look at the playoff teams, you take care of the football and don't turn it over. You get the football back as quickly as you can from the other team. You're solid in the kicking game, and you don't make mistakes and you're in great shape. I think Tampa has a lot of those elements in place."

On his coaching staff:

"I have people in mind. We have to ask permission to interview some of them. It's going to be a good staff of teachers, and that's really about all I can say. Hopefully, before the weekend is out, we'll have most of our staff lined up."

On quarterback Trent Dilfer:

"When we played them the first time this year, Tampa was doing quite well. They were 4-2 at the time, but the offense wasn't hitting on all cylinders, and Trent was getting a little negative publicity in the papers. I told him at that time he was doing a great job and not to let the negative things affect him, just keep going out there and playing and winning. I told him just to remain positive and he would do just fine. He went out and beat us that day, so maybe I shouldn't have said that to him. Since then, I think we've had a good amount of respect for each other and I'm really looking forward to working with him."

On Dilfer being ejected after fighting with Vikings tackle John Randle:

"It was, ah I'm looking for the right word. It was interesting to me that he would pick on a defensive lineman like that. I kind of like the spirit and so did our guys."

On whether he sees the Bucs as a rebuilding team:

"I don't think you can look at a team that won seven ballgames as a rebuilding team. We felt we were a very good team in Minnesota and we were in the playoffs three out of four years and felt we were a legitimate Super Bowl contender. And we won one more game than the Bucs won, so I feel like we're coming into a very good situation and we think we're going to be as strong as anyone."

_ RICK STROUD, DON BANKS

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