Tampa Bay fans see 2012 Bucs in a different light - FOX 13 News

Tampa Bay fans see 2012 Bucs in a different light

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Tampa Bay starting QB Josh Freeman got some work in under the lights of Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night. Tampa Bay starting QB Josh Freeman got some work in under the lights of Raymond James Stadium on Saturday night.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It was the first football experience at Raymond James Stadium this season.

Pro football is back in Tampa Bay and fans across the region couldn't be happier.

"I love it," said Buccaneer enthusiast George Englar. "We come all the time to fan fest."

Saturday afternoon members of the team and coaching staff held autograph sessions all over the stadium. When that was over the Bucs hit the field for a practice session under the lights.

While this isn't the first time the team has held a night practice for the fans, many say this year's had a very different feel.

"This is definitely a different vibe this year," explains Bucs fan Sean Skeels. "The first kind of different vibe I've seen since Tony Dungy was our head coach."

After two years of seeing Tampa Bay players making headliners for all the wrong reasons, many think new head coach Greg Schiano has the organization headed in the right direction.

"They're looking really good, looking real good," said LaShawna Kelly, who attended Saturday's event at RJS.

That enthusiasm showed in the stands, with the size of the crowd.

"It's pretty good, it's pretty good," Kelly said. "[The crowd] is bigger than what I've seen before."

Followers of the National Football League believe Schiano's no-nonsense approach and the perceived fan enthusiasm will show up at a place where it hasn't the past two seasons - at the box office.

"I think we're going to sell out some games this year," Skeels added.

Either way, sunny skies and Buccaneer football made for a very good night for a few thousand at RJS on a muggy Saturday.

Bucs fan Geraldo Garcia could feel it and see it.

"It looks way better than last year," Garcia said. "I am very excited for this [upcoming] season."

A bit of weather delayed practice just a bit Saturday night.

Shortly after the team hit the field Saturday NFL officials suspended play when lightning swept through the Bay area.

After a short delay the players and coaches returned to the field and finished the scrimmage for those who stuck around until the end.

The team will play its first game in the Schiano era on Friday night when they travel across the state to play the Miami Dolphins in preseason action.

The Bucs play their preseason home opener against the Tennessee Titans on Friday, August 17th.

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