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Smith wants Bucs to embrace the heat

FootballPro FootballLovie SmithWeather ReportsTampa Bay BuccaneersAnthony Gaitor

The Sports Xchange

Smith wants Bucs to embrace the heat TAMPA, Fla. - Lovie Smith had heard stories about the oppressive heat the three Florida teams often have to endure during training camp, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' first-year head coach experienced it first hand on Monday with the heat index approaching 100 degrees.

And he wasn't even wearing pads like the Bucs' players, but Smith has constructed practice times to get the players accustomed to the type of heat they will face during home games early in the season.

"The heat in Tampa is no joke," Smith said Monday. "We'll be playing (regular-season games), of course, at this time, so we have to practice along these lines. Hot days like today when the heat index is up there, we'll never put the players at risk. We'll take as many water breaks as we need to and kind of watch them. But the guys have been working hard getting used to this environment with the pads on."

The Bucs have the day off from on-field work tomorrow, although Smith expects some players to show up to work out or squeeze in additional film study.

"Just like it says, 'day off' - do whatever you like," said Smith. "(The coaches are) going to come in to work and you're always looking ahead. We're looking ahead. We have so much in front of us."

--Jeff Demps is listed as a second-year player, but the running back and former track star essentially hasn't played consistent football since his senior season at the University of Florida in 2011. He signed with the New England Patriots as an undrafted rookie, spent 2012 on injured reserve and was acquired by the Bucs in April 2013.

Demps carries the moniker of the "fastest man in the NFL," which Smith said means the coaching staff is looking for ways to utilize his speed. Demps has his work cut out to carve out a niche considering the backfield features Doug Martin, Mike James, Bobby Rainer and Charles Sims.

"I'm just kind of everywhere right now, just trying to get in where I fit in and whenever my number is called I'm just trying to get on the field and make something happen," Demps said."

--CB Alterraun Verner continues to be limited by a hamstring injury, but said he's excited to be in Tampa Bay and isn't trying to live up to any comparisons to Darrelle Revis.

"It's not something I'm overly caught up on," Verner said. "You should never be trying to replace somebody or try to play and be like somebody else, you have got to play within yourself and that's something that I learned through the years."

--Defensive tackle Jibreel Black was added to the roster and cornerback Anthony Gaitor was re-signed. The team also waived running back Brendan Bigelow and wide receiver Quintin Payton.

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