The Bucs held their annual night practice at Ray Jay on Saturday combining it with Fan Fest for the first time. Over 30,000 fans packed the stadium trying to meet the players and get a glimpse at what the new team will look like this upcoming season. Gates opened at 4pm and player autograph signing started right up. The lines were insane but it made the fans happy, even the cheerleaders signed autographs. Coach Schiano signed with the defensive group and it seemed fans were more excited about seeing him than the players.
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To entertain the crowd, the cheerleaders put on a few performances. The in-game host pulled fans from the stands to take part in their own version of the Olympics called Buclympics. They gave away gold, silver and bronze medals to the winners who received tickets to the Titans preseason game.
When practice started, the crowd went nuts as they announced each group of players. Fans seemed most excited about seeing Dallas Clark and Vincent Jackson. They both got loud cheers from the crowd and put on a great show.
Several different practices went on at the same time on different parts of the field so there was always something to watch. A few players played games and did warm-ups on the sidelines. Doug Martin, LeGarrette Blount, Mike Williams, Vincent Jackson and Dallas Clark all played a hand game where they threw the ball at one another and had to catch it with one hand. If they could not, they were out. Other players made it a point to interact with fans in the stands.
After about a half hour, practice was postponed due to rain and lightning. About another half hour later, practice resumed with a rainbow over the stadium. At the conclusion of the day, players once again signed autographs for the fans, followed by an awesome fireworks display.
The night practice was not just not just about football as the Bucs also donated $3,500 to a local youth football and cheerleading organization that was the victim of vandalism. The kids were even allowed on the field briefly to meet some of their favorite players.