Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Under the lights, in front of fans

Published Aug. 5, 2012

Training camp

Where: One Buc Place, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, just east of Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

Admission: Free

Et cetera: All practices are weather permitting and subject to change. For updates, go to


Public practices

Monday: 8:45 to 11:30 a.m.

Tuesday: 8:45 to 11:30 a.m.

Preseason games

Friday: at Dolphins, 7:30, Ch. 10

Aug. 17: Titans, 7:30, Ch. 10 *

Aug. 24: Patriots, 7:30, Ch. 10 *

Aug. 29: at Redskins, 7:30, Ch. 10

* Subject to blackout

Under the lights, in front of fans

Nothing makes a player want to shine more than when the lights come on.

That was the case Saturday during the Bucs' practice at Raymond James Stadium.

For rookies and those new to the team, it was the first time experiencing the pirate ship, flags and the other sights and sounds of the stadium.

"The atmosphere was really awesome," rookie RB Michael Smith said. "It's my first time in the stadium. Even with half the fans in the stands, I can't wait until the seats are filled up."

TE Dallas Clark played in the stadium while with the Colts. But even a veteran entering his 10th season can appreciate breaking the monotony of training camp.

"Oh, it was beautiful," Clark said of the stadium atmosphere. "It makes our practices a lot easier when you're practicing in front of people. It gives you a lot of extra energy. Playing under the lights definitely helps."

For coach Greg Schiano, the workout, which was interrupted for about a half-hour due to a thunderstorm, provided a chance for young players to get rid of the jitters before Friday's preseason opener at Miami.

"We got the young kids a chance to play some live football in front of people, so Friday night won't be the first time for them playing inside an NFL stadium," he said.

"This was the fourth straight day (of practice). I didn't have to bring the energy. The fans did. It was good."

Rick Stroud, Times staff writer