TAMPA — Bucs coach Todd Bowles will not attend rookie minicamp Saturday, but he has a good excuse.
He will be walking with the Class of 2023 at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland, to receive his Bachelor of Science degree in youth and community development, 37 years after leaving Temple to pursue a professional football playing career.
Bowles, 59, completed his work in September but wanted to walk to receive his diploma. He will make a short address to the class.
Bowles said he’s always wanted to complete his degree, with his interest increasing in recent years due to his desire to set an example for his family and children in his community.
“Completing my degree was something I had always wanted to do over the years, because it was something I had promised my mother when I went to play in the NFL, and I wanted to follow through on that promise,” Bowles said in September.
“Over the years, as I became a father, it became something I wanted to do in order to set a proper example for my sons as they continue on their educational paths. I have also worked pretty extensively with children through my various community projects, and I felt it was important to show them they can achieve whatever they set their mind to.”
Bowles’ longtime agent, Anthony Agnone, is a Mount St. Mary’s alumnus and got Bowles interested in returning to school in the summer of 2020. Bowles completed his studies in the Accelerated and Adult Undergraduate Program.
Mauch preparing to compete for starting job
Rookie guard Cody Mauch has experienced quite a climate change from his college home at North Dakota State to his new NFL residence in Tampa Bay.
But the adjustment period is necessary during this weekend’s minicamp if he wants to turn up the heat on a few veteran offensive linemen and compete for a starting job in training camp.
“That’s the biggest thing right now, is getting the lay of the land,” said Mauch, who played tackle in college but will move to guard after the Bucs’ took him in the second round of the draft.
“I obviously have high goals for myself, but really, I just want to compete. Any chance I can compete, whether it’s in the weight room, the classroom, the field, I’m going to try to compete, and I think that’s going to help me accomplish some of those goals.”
Bowles knows the next time rookies return to the field following this weekend’s minicamp, they will be competing with veteran players for roster spots. In Mauch’s case, that will be Robert Hainsey and Aaron Stinnie.
To even the playing field, the rookies are getting a crash course in the playbook.
”Our whole job for them between now and the time we go on vacation is to get caught up so they can have even footing when training camp comes, and that’s going to be a day-by-day process,” Bowles said. “It’s not going to happen overnight, because there’s a lot of things we put in.
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“... Offensively, we’ll be fine, because everybody is learning something new at the same time. Some of the guys who have been here on the defensive side know things better. Some of the other guys have to catch up more. But offensively, I think everybody has got to be on the same page, because it is new for everyone.’’
The Bucs are still learning about Mauch, who plans to bring his dog, Motley, to Tampa Bay on his next visit. He is named after Motley Crue, Mauch’s favorite band. But Mauch has a wide range of musical tastes.
”I’m actually a big Taylor Swift guy, too,” he said. “I had to chaperone my sisters when I was 16 years old. and here I come away a bigger Taylor Swift fan than them. I’m a big T-Swift guy.”
Bowles said he focused on three things when the Bucs’ schedule was released Thursday night.
“The first thing I look for is where the bye week is, and the second thing is how many cold games we’ve got in December,” Bowles said. “Obviously, we’ve got Green Bay in December to prepare for that, and I’m trying to see the turnaround from the Sunday to the Thursday game to see what you’ve got to prepare for early and look at those three things, and that’s about it.”
The Bucs’ bye comes in Week 5, which is not necessarily ideal. They play at Green Bay on Dec. 17, their only real cold weather game. Four days after an Oct. 22 home game against the Falcons, the Bucs travel to Buffalo for a Thursday night game against the Bills, the first of six road games in eight weeks.
Bowles said he’s been happy with the participation during offseason workouts, where he estimates about 93-94 percent of the players have attended. But one of them is not linebacker Devin White, who has asked to be traded unless he gets a contract extension. The Bucs picked up his fifth-year option at $11.7 million.
“I’ve had no more conversation, and the offseason is all voluntary,” Bowles said. “So, it’s not really a big deal right now.”
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