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Bucs stumble in scrimmage vs. Dolphins

It was not pretty.

Trent Dilfer was intercepted three times and didn't get the Bucs across midfield until his last play in the scrimmage. Dan Marino passed and Cecil Collins ran through their defense for a 10-play touchdown drive, and Warren Sapp walked off the field holding his left wrist.

Fortunately for Tampa Bay, Saturday's 15-6 loss against Miami in the Orange Bowl didn't count.

"We didn't do well at all, and we've got to fix that fast," Sapp said. "The season's going to be upon us and we've got to be ready to go."

Sapp wasn't injured seriously. He sprained his wrist on the next-to-last play by the first-team defense, just before Collins broke a John Lynch tackle and juked in for a 6-yard TD run.

"If it ain't broke, I stay in," Sapp said with a smile in the locker room, the soft cast already off his wrist.

Coach Tony Dungy, too, said in a regular game Sapp would have stayed in, "but there wasn't a need to. He probably won't be held out of any practices."

That's about all the good news. The Bucs didn't get into the end zone until Eric Zeier connected with Darnell McDonald on a 7-yard pass in a matchup of second-team squads.

"For the most part, Miami pretty much dominated the afternoon. It was a pretty sound beating," Dungy said. "We didn't get much pressure on the passer. I thought our tackling with our first group was very poor. Cecil Collins probably had a lot to do with that, but we didn't have much fire.

"Our first defense, our second defense, our third defense, our first offense, our third offense _ we've got to be better."

Dilfer was 7-for-13 for 78 yards. In a two-minute drill, he got the Bucs to the Miami 25 before Brock Marion intercepted an overthrown pass.

Dilfer didn't sugar-coat his performance.

"Any time you throw three interceptions, it can't be much better than a D," he said, grading himself. "I've got a lot of work to do, but I knew that and it's even more clear to me now."

Without RBs Warrick Dunn and Mike Alstott in the lineup, the Bucs managed 1.7 yards a carry.

"I thought our receivers did a good job getting off the ball and making catches," Dungy said, pointing out Reidel Anthony (5 receptions, 70 yards), Jacquez Green (2-11), Autry Denson (4-38) and McDonald (2-14).

PLAYING IT LOOSE: Here's how the scrimmage was supposed to work: A kicking period _ eight field-goal attempts and punts per team _ followed by four 12-play drives per team starting on the offense's 35-yard line. The offense had three downs to make a first down until it reached the defense's 35, then had four downs for a first down.

If the offense reached the defense's 20 before using up 12 plays, the drive could continue until it ended in a score or the defense stopped it. A TD was worth six points, there were no extra points, field goals or defensive scoring (interceptions and defensive fumble recoveries put the ball back on the offense's 35).

But both teams played fast and loose with the plans. No field-goal attempts. No punts. Only two kickoffs apiece. Denson returned one 46 yards. Two of Olindo Mare's kickoffs for Miami sailed through the end zone. Martin Gramatica sent Miami returners to the edge of the end zone.

HEY, OLD-TIMER: Before the scrimmage, the Dolphins alumni played a flag football game. RB Jim Kiick, DE Manny Fernandez, RB Mercury Morris and QB Earl Morrall among the players from the 1972 perfect season team and S Neal Colzie and QB/WR/RB Jim Jensen from later Miami teams. The younger players won 28-14.

SACK TIME: They weren't really sacks, more like, "Tag, gotcha!" DT Marcus Jones had two, S Shevin Smith, LB Jamie Duncan and DT James Cannida one apiece. Dilfer, Zeier and Shaun King were sacked a combined four times.

DON'T SHOOT: The Bucs entered the world of the shotgun with mixed results. Dilfer completed a couple of passes out of it, including his first, for 11 yards to WR Karl Williams.

"I thought our first team handled it well," Dungy said. "We had some bad snaps with our third group with Eric de Groh, but he hasn't had as much work as the other centers."

HUNGRY FANS: A $5 admission was collected for charity, and 16,447 attended the scrimmage.

_ BRUCE LOWITT

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