The Buccaneers face challenges with the heat in Tampa Bay as they prepare during the summer months. Therefore, Dirk Koetter made a great decision that will likely pay great dividends.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face an obstacle every day of their existence. The obstacle? The fact that they play in Florida. This just in, it’s hot there. In the month of August, per AccuWeather, the average high temperature during the training camp month of August in 90 degrees. The low? 76 degrees. A lot goes into preparing for an NFL season, and that includes hitting in full pads.
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Playing football in extreme heat is dangerous. It’s dangerous for kids, and it’s dangerous for adults. So, Dirk Koetter came up with a solution. He decided, as told on the team website, that right through the preseason, the Bucs will do most of their practice work in the morning:
"“We did a little study and in August when we’re out here it’s on average 11 degrees cooler at 8:45 a.m. than it is at 2:45 p.m., so I did quick Idaho State math and figured that out and said, ‘Jeez, it’s 11 degrees cooler. Why don’t we practice in the morning?'” said Koetter with a laugh. “So it didn’t take a brain surgeon.”"
Working in the South during all of his stops in the NFL (Jacksonville and Atlanta before Tampa), he understands the toll that the heat can take:
"“The last 10 years I’ve been coaching in the South I really do believe there is a cumulative effect over the course of the season, from August until the end of the year, when you’re out here, even if it’s for walkthrough at 12, 1, 2 [p.m.] and it’s 95 degrees and the sun is beating on you,” said Koetter, whose two previous NFL stops were in Jacksonville and Atlanta. “I just think there’s a cumulative effect. We are going to do everything we can to try to chip away at that. There’s some things we can’t get away from, but we’re going to do what we can.”"
Some may argue that it is always hot in Florida in August, but this is still a very good idea. Extreme heat can cause dehydration. There have been far too many heat-related deaths all over this country involving young football players and football practice. Am I saying NFL players would get to that extreme? No. But getting dehydrated is obviously detrimental to performing well on the field.
Koetter has his eyes on success moving forward, and in the long run. If he can take some of the intense heat off of his players, it will go along way to keeping their endurance high as the season grinds through 17 weeks.
It’s not something that shows up on a stat sheet, but it’s a brilliant move for the Bucs, and one that will help the team in the near and distant future.