Lovie Smith expects Demar Dotson at minicamp

TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith is an optimist and that was on full display Thursday.

Smith said he expects to see right tackle Demar Dotson at mandatory minicamp next week. That might be wishful thinking because Dotson has stayed away from voluntary OTAs (organized team activities) the last two weeks, reportedly because he wants a new contract.

But, barring a new deal, Dotson, who is scheduled to make $2.5 million this year, might be a holdout. Patrick Omameh worked in Dotson’s place with the first team on Thursday. The Bucs certainly could use Dotson around as they go through an overhaul of the offensive line, which likely will include two new starters.

“This is my approach to voluntary workouts,’’’ Smith said. “They’re voluntary. I’d like for everybody to be here every time we have an opportunity to but if a guy chooses not to for whatever reason, that’s them. Next week everything’s mandatory. I’m concerned if someone doesn’t show up for mandatory work.’’

We’ll find out next week if Dotson shows up for minicamp. But Smith said he expects Dotson to show.

“I assume,’’ Smith said. “I don’t get into guessing what guys are going to do. I assume everyone will be here next week, hopefully they will.’’