HARD HITS: For the first time in the Bucs' 2001 training camp, the helmets were really cracking in practice. Monday's full pads workouts were a bit sluggish, while Tuesday's practices were in shells (helmets and shoulder pads only). On Wednesday, fullback Mike Alstott plowed into strong safety John Lynch while blocking for Warrick Dunn. The collision knocked Lynch to the ground with a thud.
Newman also got into the mix, running over cornerback Corey Ivy en route to the end zone in 7-on-7 passing drills. Willis also left a live kickoff return drill woozy after a shot from an unidentified Buccaneer.
Guard Wilbert Brown and defensive tackle James Cannida got into a shoving match after facing each other after a one-on-one pass rushing drill. Neither one wanted the other to get in the last blow.
But the shot of the day came from Frank Murphy who leveled linebacker Marc Cerqua lead blocking for Aaron Stecker on a kick return. Murphy dropped Cerqua, took two steps and then dropped to the ground himself, suffering a shoulder stinger. He later returned to briefly mishandle a kickoff, then picked up the ball and raced untouched up the middle after a nice hole developed.
Of the return men in the kickoff return drills, Murphy, Stecker and rookie Robert Kilow looked the best.
ODDS AND ENDS: CB Corey Ivy did a nice job of punching the ball out of WR Jacquay Nunnally's hands during an 11-on-11 drill.
RG Cosey Coleman and RT Jerry Wunsch more than held their own against DT Anthony McFarland and DE Marcus Jones in a 2-on-2 pass rushing drill. Coleman and Wunsch worked well together in picking up the defensive linemen's stunts and loops.
FS Dexter Jackson looks like he's added some muscle to his upper body during the offseason. Jackson weighs 203, up from 195 a year ago.
SS Eric Vance has been a ball hawk in practice lately, and collected another INT on Wednesday off a Shaun King pass that was bobbled in the air by Mike Alstott.
Jamie Duncan has been the starting middle linebacker for virtually all of the training camp drills.
Rookie Than Merrill has been seeing a lot of time at strong safety while second-year player David Gibson has also spent some time lining up at free safety.
Veteran guards Kendall Mack and Wilbert Brown have been impressive in practice. Both are running with the second string with Mack on the right side and Brown on the left.
Al Singleton got his chance to start at weakside linebacker on Wednesday after Jeff Gooch and Shelton Quarles started their on Monday and Tuesday, respectively. Singleton started in place of the absent Derrick Brooks, who is a training camp holdout.
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