After two months of digesting game film of the 2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, new head coach Greg Schiano bolted out of bed Monday morning to meet with his players as a group for the first time.
The coaching staff was greeted by a good turnout, including quarterback Josh Freeman, during the start of "Phase 1,'' a voluntary period that allows Bucs players under contract to participate in conditioning drills at the team facility.
"It was good to have all those eyes looking back at you,'' Schiano said. "Today marks the beginning of something and it's great to have a football team to be able to stand in front of. Our coaching staff has worked incredibly hard as they've trickled in here to Tampa to put together the beginning stages of who we are going to be.''
Hired to replace Raheem Morris on a 4-12 club that lost its final 10 games, Schiano and his new staff have immersed themselves in evaluating tape to gauge talent and analyze schemes utilized during the 2011 season.
On Monday, Schiano began the process of sharing with his young roster what is expected of players in terms of work habits and off-field behavior.
"To finally be able to talk to the team as a group and to talk about football, I'd be lying if I told you I didn't fly out of bed this morning, excited to go,'' Schiano said. "That's what football coaches do.
"We had some guys that had informed me they had some things they had scheduled previously. This is not a mandatory activity, but I was very impressed with the commitment level of our guys – being here, being on time, ready to go.''
The Bucs will stage a voluntary veteran mini-camp later this month, Schiano said.
"We're all new right now and everybody's got an opportunity,'' Schiano said. "If I'm a player, I like that. 'If I'm good and I've been good, I'm going to be good again. And if for whatever reason I've had some issues, well, here's a fresh start. … I've got a chance with this guy.'
"What they'll figure out very quickly, and I shared it with them today, is there's a right way and a wrong way as far as I'm concerned, and we're going to do it the right way.''