Bucs looking to beat the heat with morning training camp practices

Dirk Koetter is opting to keep his players fresher by ending training camp practices before the midday heat. Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have released their open 2017 training camp schedule. Once again, they're opting for morning practices. In fact, all but one open practice will start at 8:45 a.m. and end at either 10:30 or 10:50. Last year, the majority of camp practices also began at 8:45 a.m.

During the Bucs' mandatory minicamp last week, head coach Dirk Koetter cited the heat and humidity as reasons they'd continue practicing in the morning. The possibility for inclement weather also tends to rise as the day goes on.

"It's just tough on those guys," Koetter said. During minicamp, temperatures hovered between 88 and 90 degrees with 85-90 percent humidity. They are expected to be around that mark in both late July and August, when players report.

Under previous head coach Lovie Smith, training camp practices began at 2:30 in the afternoon. The idea then was to "use the heat to their advantage," with Smith believing it helped them wear down opponents at home. Some players felt it was very draining, however.

Prior to that, under Greg Schiano, practices began at 8:45. The team found that morning practices meant temperatures averaged about 10 degrees cooler and tended to keep players fresher.

"[I'm a] huge fan," wide receiver Adam Humphries said of morning practices, adding that he also feels he can recover quicker. "[We] get the work in early and get out of the heat."

Running back Charles Sims agreed. "I like to get it out of the way."

The Bucs are currently building a new indoor practice facility adjacent to the practice fields but it won't be ready until September. The facility was designed to not only accommodate the team in times of inclement weather, but also for team walk-throughs during game week, so players won't get drained from the sun.