Bucs practice - 20 October 2011
Another gorgeous sunny day down at Pennyhill Park in Surrey as the Bucs continued their practice ahead of Sunday's game with the Chicago Bears. And this was just like a regular Thursday practice back home with a lot more intensity and focus through the two hours the players were out on the field.
Once again I was able to watch the entire thing even after the media were escorted back to the hotel and also found the time to record a piece with Scott Smith for Buccaneers Insider on the team website.
GM Mark Dominik arrived fairly early in the practice and I was having a quick chat with him when Rick Stroud and Roy Cummings moved in like a pair of sharks circling for the kill as they looked for a good quote. And the use of that analogy went down well with all concerned too.
Brian Ford, the man who makes it all happen for the Bucs UK behind the scenes with the Buccaneers was in camp today having spent yesterday at the Houses of Parliament. It was good to catch up with Brian again and after recruiting his two sons to play for the touch football team at Wembley Sunday, I was able to secure another 10 places for club members to watch practice tomorrow.
In terms of practice, the offensive drills looked a lot sharper and Free took over 80% of the snaps in preparation for the game. In terms of who I saw practice and who didn't, sorry but I can't write about that guys!
There were a lot more media there today and the PR crew gave up trying to control everyone so interviews were happening all over the field after practice. I was able to get a lot of pictures signed for club competition prizes but did find time to get a few personal ones done for myself - hey got to have a few perks of the job!
Walking back to the hotel with Donald Penn was a real highlight. The guy is simply one of the funniest people you could ever wish to be around and I will put some of the things he told me into an article.
The best was from the San Francisco game when the 49ers were worried the Bucs might run the tackle eligible play Donald scored on last season. Niners DE Aldon Smith told Penn that coach Harbaugh had really stressed the point using the phrase "you'd better not let that big ***** 70 score again".
We had to wait around 30 minutes for Raheem's press conference to start so time to hear an incredible amount of bull**** from Neil Reynolds about his receiving skills and how he will tear up the field in the touch football. Money was being offered to get Mike Carlson out of retirement but he declined.
And when Neil and I were doing the NFL UK Podcast piece, we became completely oblivious to Greg Olson's press conference behind and got a rollicking for interrupting it. I mean, how can the Bucs' offensive co-ordinator be more important than us?
More tomorrow when the Bucs UK contingent will be there too.