For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, time is of the essence.
With a new coaching staff and several free agent additions, time is running out to mold a winning squad before the 2012 season begins, and head coach Greg Schiano knows it.
The name of the game was speed Friday morning as the Buccaneers kicked off training camp at One Buc, practicing for the first time in front of a small gathering of fans who tried to stay cool in the heat.
"We're running out of time," Schiano said after the Bucs' morning session. "Teams in our division all have a head start on us."
Schiano said he was encouraged at what he saw, though it's still very early. He also said he's happy with his offense, including quarterback Josh Freeman, as the Bucs learn a new system.
Offensive lineman Donald Penn said that's the reaction from a hungry team, which wants to turn around last season's poor finish.
"I don't want that feeling again," he said. "I don't think any of these other guys do, but Josh is handling it well. And that's what he needs to do. He's maturing, becoming another player, to lead us."
"When last year is over, it's over," Penn added.
Freeman has come into camp lighter, losing about 20 pounds in the off-season. General Manager Mark Dominik said there are high expectations from Freeman.
"He stepped up in the off-season program and understood how important it was to get into the best physical shape he could to be the best quarterback he can," he said.
We'll have more from One Buc later Friday afternoon.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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