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Dungy takes coaches to a higher ground

You see the world from a different point of view as a head coach. In Tony Dungy's case, from ground level.

After more than a decade of watching games from the press box as a defensive backs coach or defensive coordinator, Dungy heads down to the sideline this year as Bucs head coach.

"It will be different. It's been 14 years, I think '82 was the last time I was on the sideline," Dungy said. "Seeing it from ground level will be a little bit different."

Dungy is such a proponent of having coordinators watch games from the press box, it was one of the main reasons the Bucs had a mock scrimmage atPepin/Rood Stadium on Saturday morning. Dungy wanted to work on the communications between the press box and the sideline before the preseason opener Saturday at Miami.

Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and offensive coordinator Mike Shula will sit in the press box this season.

"You can be a little more relaxed up there," Dungy said. "You can see, you can spread your papers out.

"You can think a little better and get away from the confusion, the walking back and forth, the wires, the players in your ear _ "Put me in the game' or "I can beat my guy on this.' You can keep a little more poise up there."

It will not be a new experience for Kiffin or Shula. Kiffin stayed in the press box during his tenures as defensive coordinator in Minnesota and New Orleans, and Shula took the high road in previous assistant's jobs in Tampa Bay and Miami.

"I feel more comfortable up there, so I'll handle it the same way I did last year," Kiffin said.

The coordinators will communicate with the sideline via headphones. Kiffin will relay defensive formations to linebackers coach Lovie Smith, who will signal middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson.

Shula can talk directly to the quarterbacks, who have transmitters in their helmets. Shula also will relay plays to tight ends coach Clyde Christensen. The Bucs did not work with the helmet transmitters Saturday, so Christensen used hand signals to call the plays.

"You never know when those (helmet) things go out, so it's good for us to work on that," Shula said.

Entering his first year as a coordinator, Shula said he sought opinions from others on the advantages of being upstairs or on the sideline.

"I think this is the best way to go," he said. "It's easier to see what's going on at that angle. That's why we watch films from that view. Otherwise, we'd watch films from ground level."

Dungy said he did not require his coordinators to go up to the press box, but said he preferred it that way.

A lot of the advantages are the same that fans have watching on television. Like replays and varied angles.

"You can see better and you've got the replays," Dungy said. "A lot of times a play will happen and you think, "Where did that play break?' "I think it went between Curry and Marts.'

"Then you look at the replay and say, "No, it went inside Curry.' You can make adjustments a little better when you've seen what's happened."