Bucs players are excited to be working with Lovie Smith

The change to Lovie Smith is going over very well with the players at One Buc Place.

A day after Tampa Bay's new head coach was able to address his team for the first time since taking the job earlier this year, the men he'll be coaching praised their new leader.

"With Lovie, his mentality is just as positive. It's about treating guys like men, you know what I mean?" said star wide receiver Vincent Jackson. "Representing the Buccaneers and this organization and this city in the right light and we definitely want to do that on the field as well. We love his message and we love the tone that he's bringing to this organization.

"He does everything with a purpose."

Smith took last season off from coaching after being fired by the Chicago Bears. He has come in to the Bucs organization -- a place he spent the early years of his coaching career as an assistant under head coach Tony Dungy -- and made his message very clear.

"Just win, man. We didn't (have a) good year last year and that's behind us," said All-Pro linebacker Lavonte David. "It's a new era right now and we're just going to try to build on that."

The Bucs finished 4-12 last season after starting the year 0-8 under head coach Greg Schiano. His coaching style was more discipline-based. Smith's, according to the players, is driven more by respect.

"He's going to treat us like men. That's the main thing," said kicker Connor Barth. "He says he's going to treat us like men and that's awesome. Like I said, just looking forward to it and ready to go."

The team was able to meet with Smith this week, because the league gives new head coaches additional time to get acclimated with their new teams. The team will continue to work out and learn Smith's new system on offense and defense before the draft, which is one month away.


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