By Tom Krasniqi (Twitter: @TKras)
If you attended Saturday’s practice, you heard some pops. There was some hitting going on. Wideout Eric Page got blasted by cornerback Anthony Gaitor along the sideline. That drew some oohhs and ahhhs from the crowd during Saturday’s training camp practice from a hot and humid One Buc Place.
Then you heard an even louder thud. Safety Dashon Goldson and defensive end Da’Quan Bowers were converging on running back Doug Martin. They missed. There was a violent collision between Goldson and Bowers. Thankfully, both were fine. That thunderous blow could’ve been heard from Safety Harbor. “There were some shots out there today,” said Schiano after Saturday’s practice. “Even though we’re not tackling to the ground, there were some guys who made some good contact. We challenged them. We challenged our football team. I think they were ready for that challenge. We practiced really hard.” They sure did and it sounded like it.
The competition between the offense and defense has been fierce. On Saturday, Schiano made things more interesting: Play-it periods without tackling but the losing side does push-ups. Offense makes a play. Defense dropped and did 10. Defense came up with a play and the offense did some push-ups. It made for a very competitive and spirited practice session. There was a point in practice where Schiano called everyone to the middle of the field. According to eyewitnesses, Schiano himself did a few push-ups. “That did not happen. I don’t think you saw that happen,” Schiano said with a sly grin. Even the media surprised Schiano with a well coordinated push-up session as he entered the media studio for his press conference. “That was well orchestrated,” Schiano said with a laugh.
After 9 days of camp, guys are starting to get a little antsy. They want to hit somebody. Linebacker LaVonte David said as much during a radio interview with me after practice. “Yeah man, today at practice…we had those team periods and I was like ‘man, I want to tackle somebody’. I just need to get back in the habit of tackling somebody. It’s coming around the corner. We’re going to get there,” said David. That time is coming. The preseason opener is Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium against the defending world champion Baltimore Ravens.
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