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Shotgun formation earns Dungy's approval _ so far

Coach Tony Dungy appears to be softening his stance on the Bucs owning the shotgun.

Despite some bad snaps by rookie free-agent center Eric de Groh, the Bucs looked fairly sharp utilizing the shotgun formation against the Dolphins.

One week into what is a preseason experiment, Dungy said he likes the results.

"The shotgun is going to help us, I think," Dungy said. "We'll see as it goes on, but I thought our first two groups handled it well. We hadn't faced a crowd noise situation yet. That will probably come when we go to Kansas City (Aug. 21)."

CECIL NO DIESEL: Dolphins rookie Cecil Collins had some impressive gains against the Bucs first-team defense, averaging 5.5 yards and scoring on a 6-yard run.

But the Bucs made it easy for Collins.

"Basically, missed tackles and guys being in the wrong gap, more than anything," Dungy said. "I thought he made one good run where he made a couple of people miss. If you really wanted to be honest, you'd have to credit it to poor tackling. I think he's going to be a dynamite back in the league. He's got strength and he's got some quickness. But if you looked at the film, you wouldn't say they were great runs."

BRIGHT SPOTS: It wasn't a lost weekend for all of the Bucs. Dungy saw some good performances, especially by newcomers.

Rookie Autry Denson, a seventh-round pick from Notre Dame, produced a 46-yard kickoff return in his only attempt and had four catches for 38 yards _ 23 on a third-down pass.

"I thought Autry Denson did a good job in the roles that he had _ as the third-down back and in the kick return," Dungy said.

WR Reidel Anthony led the Bucs with five catches for 70 yards.

Rookie WR Darnell McDonald scored on a 7-yard TD pass from Eric Zeier.

"Our receivers, I was really happy with their work, especially against their DBs, getting off the bump-and-run and making some catches, making some plays," Dungy said. "Eric did well. He made some things happen and he got us into the end zone. That's what you're looking for."

INJURIES: DT Warren Sapp has a sprained left wrist but could practice today. DE Chidi Ahanotu (strained hip), RB Warrick Dunn (tendinitis), FB Mike Alstott (ankle sprain), LB Derrick Brooks (ankle sprain) and WR Bert Emanuel (concussion) all could return to practice by midweek. S Dexter Jackson (hamstring) is day-to-day.

_ RICK STROUD

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