TAMPA, Fla. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp:
Wednesday's practice was noticeably different than recent sessions. "We've been hitting it pretty hard, weather and all of that," coach Lovie Smith said. "We've got a game coming up and we want the guys to be fresh, so we took the pads off today. We got some good crisp work done." The Bucs had worn pads in the previous eight practice sessions. But they went in shorts and shells on Wednesday. There was no hitting, but there still was a lot of action.
Safety Dashon Goldson had been having a quiet camp. The Bucs were bringing him along slowly after offseason ankle surgery. Goldson had missed some practices earlier in camp, but he looked sharp on Wednesday. He made a diving interception on a pass that was overthrown by quarterback Josh McCown.
Smith said he's glad the preseason is almost here. The Bucs open the preseason Friday night at the Jacksonville Jaguars. “You can only hit your teammate so hard and really let go," Smith said. “I'm anxious to let our defensive linemen go. You haven't seen us with any blocks below the waste and just being able to finish plays."
Smith said he didn't want to reveal how much his starters will play against the Jaguars until he had a chance to tell the players. But Smith threw out a pretty strong hint that the starters will play roughly a quarter. He said his general rule is the same as many other coaches. He likes to start off slowly and gradually increase playing time until the starters play into the second half in the third preseason game. Smith said not to expect much of the starters in the final preseason game. “I'm totally sold on that ladder leading up to get ready for the first game," Smith said. “We're going to stay with that no matter what."
Smith revealed that offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford will call plays from the coaches' booth. Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier will work from the field.
The Bucs will not practice Thursday. They'll be traveling to Jacksonville for Friday night's game. They'll be off Saturday and they'll return to practice Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.